[Why Do an Assessment? | EdChange's Unique Assessment Approach
Our Data Collection Techniques | Fee Schedule]
Why Do an Assessment?
The primary reason for conducting a climate assessment (sometimes called a "Diversity" or "Community" assessment) is to uncover the extent to which an organization, corporation, or school is an equitably inclusive, validating, and welcoming environment for all constituencies. Some organizations choose to do a climate assessment following particular racist, homophobic, or otherwise repressive incidents. Others decide, rightly so, that the only way to move authentically toward equity and inclusivity is to assess, with the greatest levels of complexity, how equitable their organization is currently. In either case a climate assessment provides the data necessary to make informed decisions regarding individual and institutional practice and policy for equity and diversity.
EdChange's Unique Assessment Approach
Our approach to climate assessment is unique in several ways:
- Our team combines formal training in assessment and evaluation (including Paul C. Gorski's doctorate in Evaluation from the University of Virginia) with internationally recognized expertise in equity and diversity concerns. The former means that we are equipped with the requisite skills to create original and credible instruments for data collection (i.e., surveys, focus group protocols, and so on) and to perform rigorous qualitative and quantitative data analysis. The latter means that we are equipped with the requisite knowledge to connect our analyses to pragmatic, research-supported recommendations for strengthening a school or organizational climate.
- We never use "canned" assessment instruments. Instead, we work with you to create surveys, focus group protocols, and other data collection instruments that reflect the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in your specific context.
- Because we develop original instruments for each context, we can create a variety of instruments even within one particular school or organization. The goal is to make each instrument relevant and accessible to various constituencies, from elementary school students to corporate CEOs.
- Many models for climate assessment focus solely or tightly on one or two areas of diversity, such as race or gender. Our assessments are designed to help the school or organization explore the climate around a broader spectrum of identities, including religion, home language, socioeconomic status, immigrant status, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, and so on.
- We understand the importance of employing varied methods for data collection, both qualitative and quantitative. We have expertise and experience using and combining a broad array of methods (discussed in more detail below).
- We focus, not only on carrying out an assessment, but also on preparing the school or organization to continue an on-going assessment process. Once you have hired us to complete an assessment, the instruments we create for that assessment are yours to keep and reuse.
- We imagine "constituencies" broadly. For educational organizations, these might include families, alumni, students who dropped or transfered out of a school, and so on. For organizations they might include community members and former employees. Decisions on which constituencies we include in an assessment are made in consultation with the hiring school or organization.
- Roughly 40% of EdChange's consulting work focuses on assessment while 60% focuses on training and professional development. This means that, upon completing the assessment process and becoming intimately familiar with the organization's challenges and opportunities, we can offer focused professional development designed to address particular recommendations.
Our Data Collection Techniques
As mentioned above, we have the expertise and experience to collect data in a variety of ways, both qualitative and quantitative. All decisions about which techniques to use, and with which constituencies to use them, are made in collaboration with the hiring school or organization. They include:
- Paper or Online Surveys
We use a variety of close-ended item-types as well as open-ended short-answer items. Surveys are designed for age- and context-appropriateness.
- Focus Groups
We prefer to conduct focus groups in various identity-specific combinations as well as open focus groups in which any member of a school or community can participate.
We conduct formal interviews as well as informal interviews. We facilitate the latter by spending time at the school or organization, making ourselves visible and available to anybody who would like to share their experiences with us. We find that this is an important way to capture data on the sorts of issues about which we might not have thought to ask during formal data collection processes.
- Site Visits (Ethnographic Observations)
During each assessment process we dedicate time to what might be described as "ethnographic" observations, spending time at the school or organization as a way to get a feel for its culture, its processes, and so on. This also allows us to make ourselves available to various constituencies in order to answer questions about the assessment.
- Policy Analysis
We can perform a line-by-line analysis of "official" documents, such as staff and student handbooks, mission and vision statements, and harassment reporting protocols. Often we find examples of bias hidden implicitly in such documents or in processes for enforcing (or not enforcing) them.
- Curriculum Analysis
When we are performing a climate assessment at a school, we can evaluate all matter of curricular materials, from course descriptions and syllabi to student assessment techniques. In addition, we visit classes in order to provide feedback on pedagogy, student engagement, and curricula.
Our Fee Schedule
The cost of a climate assessment depends entirely on its scope: the size of the organization, the types of data desired, and so on. Fees range from $2,500 for a day-long site visit with informal data collection and an informal verbal report to $15,000-30,000 (depending on the size of the organization) for a full-scale assessment using the complete set of data analysis techniques and including a full written report (usually 20 to 30 pages long).
Below is a partial menu of estimated fee ranges for various services. For a more exact estimate, contact Paul C. Gorski at gorski@EdChange.org or 703.593.9353. (Note that these fees do not include expenses, such as any necessary travel and lodging during the assessment.) One half-day of pre-assessment meetings can be arranged without charge (except for travel and lodging, if necessary) if an agreement for more services is already in place.
- One day site visit by one EdChange assessment specialist, including informal data collection and a verbal report: $2,500
- Additional days, per assessor: $1,500
- Survey construction (if survey is administered and data analyzed by the institution): $2,500 (one time fee, after which the institution owns the survey)
- Consulting services for helping the organization develop its own assessment plan: $2,500 per day for one EdChange assessment specialist, $1,500 for each additional assessment specialist
- Starter assessment (surveys, focus groups, two-day site visit, brief written report): $10-20,000
- Policy assessment, including written report: $3-8,000
- Curriculum assessment, including written report: $3-8,000
[Our Unique Assessment Approach | Our Data Collection Techniques
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