From 2004 through 2009, the Memorial Fund commissioned a longitudinal theory of change evaluation from the Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD) in partnership with On Point Consulting.
The Discovery evaluation was designed to measure capacity building and systemic changes related to the four Discovery objectives that guided the initiative until 2009. The four objectives were:
- Expanding the supply of high quality early care and education
- Improving the quality of existing early care and education
- Building stronger connections between early care and elementary education
- Improving students' social, emotional and academic performance
The evaluation looked at: progress made by the Discovery communities and at the state level in capacity building and systemic change; the contributions of Discovery supports to community and state-level work; and the ways that interactions among community and statewide partners affected change in communities and at the state level.
The evaluation drew on a wide range of sources for information – community plans, grantee applications, and other documents; interviews with Memorial Fund staff and consultants; interviews with statewide grantees and other state-level stakeholders; interviews, surveys, and focus groups with community coordinators and other members of Discovery collaborations; statistical profiles of communities; and observations of initiative activities and work in selected communities.
Evaluation Theory of Change
The evaluation used a theory of change approach to define the questions to be addressed. The evaluation outlined and followed the paths of change that were expected from Discovery and grounded findings in the responses of both grantee participants and staff of the initiative as well as outside decision-makers. The Discovery theory of change (follow the link below) was created by the evaluation team in an iterative process with the Memorial Fund staff. It guided the evaluation and provided a framework and common terminology for communicating evaluation findings to the staff as part of their ongoing reflection and refinement of the initiative.
Learn more about the evaluation Theory of Change and see evaluation reports.