Evaluations help project teams configure and reconfigure ongoing action and judge progress against plans and goals. Evaluation can be a long-term effort or a short one, depending on the project. We use a variety of techniques but often find that a participant-oriented approach makes sense, in particular with formative evaluation.
Evaluations always need to be planned. Usually, we help organizations develop evaluation plans for proposals: generally with WordFarmers the planned evaluator for a successful bid. But we are sometimes asked to join ongoing evaluations--and in this case we need to plan an appropriate role for WordFarmers.
Education organizations often want to summarize and draw inferences from a body of existing empirical studies. We have helped develop dozens of syntheses for many purposes. We prepare only legitimate syntheses that capture the sense of the relevant work.
Empirical work needs data in which one can find patterns that reflect reality. We insist on using valid and reliable instruments for data collection. It's not rocket science, but instrument development requires care and attention to item and scale development.
In large measure, we are professional writers and editors. Good-to- excellent proposals, reports, journal articles, books, webinars (and other scripts) must exhibit good writing of the sort appropriate to the form. WordFarmers does not provide this service to individuals, but only to education organizations.
WordFarmers Associates helps education organizations accomplish important projects by conducting evaluations; by writing evaluation plans (e.g., for grant projects or ongoing funded projects); by producing research syntheses (e.g., for policy briefs, in grant proposals, as white papers); by developing instruments (e.g., for pre- and post-project measurement, hypothesis testing, formative feedback for product development); and by providing editorial assistance (e.g., for project reports, web-based resources, grant applications). Clients have included policy and research organizations, state education agencies, local education agencies, and universities.
Such work is demanding; not everyone can do it--and we cannot do it for everyone. We work closely with clients to learn what they need and then to provide it if possible. We do not begin work until we and the prospective client decide if we can do what's needed.
WordFarmers principals are Aimee and Craig Howley. We jointly have over 70 years experience in this work--as education evaluators, researchers, writers, and practitioners in K12 and higher education. Associates include: Robert Bickel (Marshall University), Kevin Daberkow (Columbus City Shools), Marged Dudek (Oz Consulting, Zephyr TX), Jerry Johnson (University of West Florida), Robert Klein (Ohio University), Emily Kresiak (Ohio University), Edwina Pendarvis (Marshall University), Anika Rowe (West Virginia University), and Daniel Showalter (Ohio University).