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College Completion Through a Devolved Workforce Development System: A Study Using Developmental Research Evaluation Methods

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By: Heather A. McKay, Elizabeth Nisbet & Sara Haviland Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This case study examines the use of developmental evaluation in the Adult College Completion Initiative, a 4-year joint Rutgers University/National Association of Workforce Boards project funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education. The demonstration project aimed to address the national problem of low college completion rates by institutionalizing college completion as a routine training option and point of discussion in the workforce development system for clients who hold some prior college credit but no degree. The project tested an idea for maximizing the investment of the federal workforce system and local workforce investment boards in improving college completion outcomes while providing an opportunity to study this effort using developmental evaluation techniques. Developmental evaluation uses the collection and analysis of real-time data to both understand and support systems thinking and innovation. It differs from a more outcomes-oriented evaluation approach in that it primarily seeks to understand how various implementation procedures, practices, and program contexts affect outcomes. Although it is often accompanied by an outcomes evaluation, it is a process-oriented form of evaluation. The evaluation of the Adult College Completion Initiative provided important information and tactics to the workforce development system, helping them better serve clients with some college and no degree.

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