Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Program Evaluation: Defining and Measuring “Success” In Academic Support Programs

An article by University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law Professor Kevin H. Smith.  (2003 L. Rev. M.S.U.-D.C.L. 177 - I have not discovered a web link to this article. djt)

Professor Smith discusses the value of an academic support program and provides guidelines to assist in the development and implementation of sound and effective evaluation methods.  He focuses on three methodological issues at the core of any useful evaluation effort: "First, what is meant by 'success?' ... Second, how is 'success' ... to be measured?  Third, how may that data be obtained?"

By advocating the use of a variety of empirical data rather than theoretical templates, Professor Smith describes how a successful evaluation can only be achieved in the context of student perspectives and objectives.

The article offers three types of evaluations (formative, summative, and confirmative) that can be implemented in a variety of settings, all conducted within the context of relevant student concerns and goals.

Professor Smith’s scientific and methodical guidelines are at once intuitive and instructive.  (djt)

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