WCGMF Discovery

Discovery Theory of Change: Putting It All Together

The Discovery theory of change links what the Memorial Fund does to support the Discovery initiative with the changes expected at the community and state levels at different stages of Discovery. Discovery set out four objectives: expanding the supply of quality early education, improving the quality of existing early education, strengthening connections between early care and elementary education, and improving young students’ social, emotional, and academic performance. The theory of change predicts that what the Memorial Fund does to support communities, state organizations and public entities will contribute to changes in Connecticut’s early care and education system and ultimately improve children’s development and early school success. While the theory appears to be linear and uni-directional, in actuality ongoing work at each stage is needed to renew and strengthen the results over time.

The Discovery theory of change illustrated below was created by the evaluation team in an iterative process with the Memorial Fund staff. It guides the evaluation and provides a framework and common terminology for communicating evaluation findings to the staff as part of their ongoing reflection and refinement of the initiative.

To learn more about the stages of the Discovery theory of change that are the focus of the evaluation and to view related evaluation documents, click on the ovals and boxes in the diagram below.

These documents were prepared by the Discovery Evaluation Team from the Center for Assessment and Policy Development and On Point Consulting, based on information from a wide range of sources described more fully in each document. The analyses and conclusions in these reports solely reflect the perspective of the Evaluation Team, and not necessarily that of the Memorial Fund or its grantees.

Approach + Assumptions + Investments Direct Contributions Intermediate Changes Longer-Term Developments

Approach + Assumptions + Investments - Initiative Intervention

The Discovery “intervention” includes the Memorial Fund’s approach to working with its partners, the assumptions or principles that underlie the Initiative, and the specific investments made in capacity building.For more information on this stage of the Initiative theory of change and a summary of preliminary findings, see Initiative Intervention.

See Also: 

Statewide Grantee Capacities and Strategies as of Fall 2006 report under Direct Contributions
Summary of Evaluation Findings to Date under Intermediate Changes

Direct Contributions of the Discovery Initiative - Related Documents

The direct contributions of the Discovery initiative are expected to be strengthened capacities (infrastructure, skills, and processes) and relationships (networks and partnerships) within and among communities and state-level organizations and groups. According to the Discovery theory of change, strengthened capacities and relationships will enable stakeholders to mobilize for specific changes in local and state early childhood education policies and practices.For more information on this stage of the Discovery theory of change and a summary of preliminary findings, see Direct Contributions of the Initiative.

See Also: 

Summary of Evaluation Findings to Date under Intermediate Changes

Intermediate Changes from the Discovery Initiative

According to the Discovery theory of change, the strengthened capacities and relationships that are expected at the community and state levels will enable stakeholders to mobilize for specific changes in local and state early childhood education policies and practices.For more information on this stage of the Discovery theory of change and a summary of preliminary findings, see Intermediate Changes from the Discovery Initiative.

Longer-Term Developments - Related Documents

According to the Discovery theory of change, specific policy and practice changes at the community and state levels will contribute to cumulative benefits for young children, a critical mass of advocates and engaged constituencies (including parents), enhanced organizational capacities and individual skills among those stakeholders, and political momentum and champions. These factors will contribute to the longer-term development of the capacity to maintain and build political momentum in support of early childhood issues in Connecticut.