Lessons Learned about Collaborative Evaluation using the Capacity for Applying Project Evaluation (CAPE) Framework with School and District Leaders

Jeni Corn, Elizabeth Byrom, Kirk Knestis, Nita Matzen, Beth Thrift


Schools, districts, and state-level educational organizations are experiencing a great shift in the way they do the business of education. This shift focuses on accountability, specifically through the expectation of the effective utilization of evaluative-focused efforts to guide and support decisions about educational program implementation. In as much, education leaders need specific guidance and training on how to plan, implement, and use evaluation to critically examine district and school-level initiatives. One specific effort intended to address this need is through the Capacity for Applying Project Evaluation (CAPE) framework.

The CAPE Framework is composed of three crucial components: a collection of evaluation resources; a professional development model; and a conceptual framework that guides the work to support evaluation planning and implementation in schools and districts. School and district teams serve as active participants in the professional development and ultimately as formative evaluators of their own school or district-level programs by working collaboratively with evaluation experts. The CAPE framework involves the school and district staff in planning and implementing their evaluation. They are the ones deciding what evaluation questions to ask, which instruments to use, what data to collect, and how and to whom results should be reported. Initially this work is done through careful scaffolding by evaluation experts, where supports are slowly pulled away as the educators gain experience and confidence in their knowledge and skills as evaluators. Since CAPE engages all stakeholders in the all stages of the evaluation, the philosophical intentions of these efforts to build capacity for formative evaluation strictly aligns with the collaborative evaluation approach.

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For more information, visit the FI Evaluation Team’s website.