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Secrets from the Data Cave: February 2014

by Ashley FahertyWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!February 2014: Predicting Student Achievement to Hire the Best Teacher, FasterThe hiring process in any field can be an arduous task. First, HR has to sift through many (sometimes hundreds, or even thousands) of resumes. Then, they take those that are best qualified and pass them along to the hiring manager. That person has to go through the resumes, as well, and...

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Our Valentines: Why we love evaluation at CRC

compiled by Sheila MatanoEarlier this year, the American Evaluation Association released a statement describing what evaluation is and its value to evaluators and the public at-large. There are many different types of evaluation and the time it takes to complete an evaluation project can vary from a few weeks to several years. Amidst a flurry of projects, debacles, deadlines and what seems to be a long and arduous winter, the CRC team took some time this week to decompress and reflect on what we love about our work. As evaluators, we sometimes get bogged down by minutiae and forget the value of the work that we do! Taking a step back to reflect on our work and experiences encourages insight, learning, and fosters growth.So in honor of Valentine’s week, we want to share why we...

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Secrets from the Data Cave: January 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room -- fondly referred to as “the bat cave”--- where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we'll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!January 2014: Using Data to Convince Your Friends You Are Psychic on Super Bowl SundayHere we are in 2014, with February already nearly upon us, and as Super Bowl Sunday draws closer, I hear more and more people making predictions about who will win it all this year. Whether your team wins or loses (or didn’t make the playoffs), you can still...

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Happy New Year! And AEA 2013 Recap, Part 2

compiled by Jill ScheiblerHappy New Year from all of us at CRC to our friends, evaluation colleagues, clients, and miscellaneous blog followers! If you're like us, the transition period spanning the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a very busy time masquerading as a relaxing one. But, even as we'd all like a bit more down time, the busyness of this transition time is a fertile one for reviewing lessons learned from the departing year and for setting goals for the new one...

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Secrets from the Data Cave: December 2013

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room -- fondly referred to as “the bat cave”--- where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we'll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!December 2013: Working while traveling this holiday? Read this first!It’s the holiday season, which means that lots of people are traveling to be with family and friends. Maybe you’ll have a long layover in an airport, be staying in a hotel, or maybe you’ll try to escape to a local café when it comes time for your crazy family to force...

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Out of School Time Programs in Baltimore City

by Sheila MatanoThe Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) recently released a new report on schools in Baltimore City that provide out-of-school time activities. All the schools in the reports were funded under the Community Schools Initiative at the Family League of Baltimore City.One of the key outcomes for the OST programs was attendance; the report showed students who attended OST on a regular basis had a slightly higher school attendance rate than their peers who did not (95.0% compared to 93.0%).[1]Another key outcome was that students who attended OST were significantly less likely to be chronically absent[2] from school in 2011-12 than their peers; 62% of regular OST attenders were no longer chronically absent compared to 51% of their comparable peers. In other words, the number of regular OST attenders who...

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Secrets from the Data Cave, November 2013

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room -- fondly referred to as “the bat cave”--- where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we'll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!November 2013: Why I’m Switching to DecafI’m kind of obsessed with tracking my progress to goals. And not just goals at work, or long-term goals in my personal life—I mean little, day-to-day things. I’ve even been known to track the amount of time I spend cleaning my apartment each day, because without documentation to keep me accountable, I would simply never...

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AEA 2013 Re-Cap, Part 1

compiled by Jill ScheiblerCRC was well represented at the 2013 American Evaluation Association conference, held close to home for us in Washington, DC! We learned a lot from this year’s sessions and had a great time connecting with old and new friends… But we didn’t just party there! (Although we did do just a bit of that with our fellow East Coast evalutors… see the evidence at the end of this post.)Most of our staff attended AEA 2013, and each has something to share about what she learned there. Together we have so much to share, actually, that we’ll be splitting our conference post-mortem into two parts. Stay tuned for part 2, coming next week! Dana Ansari, Research Assistant, attended a plenary presented by John Easton, entitled, “The Practice of Educational Evaluation Today: A Federal Perspective.” Her...

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Secrets from the Data Cave, October 2013

Introducing. . . Secrets from the Data Caveby Sarah McCruden Welcome to CRC’s new monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! For those who don’t know, the title references the room in our office where the data staff can geek out in an isolated setting that is fondly referred to as “the bat cave.” We will be offering you a sneak peek into this fascinating environment every month with the latest updates and tips on what we’re implementing here in the CRC data cave!October 2013: Beware the Pumpkin PieThis month’s topic— how to effectively represent data based on basic principles of visual perception, as discussed in Stephen Few’s Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten. This volume, basically a textbook, covers more info...

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Evaluation communication and audience considerations

by Dana AnsariDuring the brief time I’ve worked as an evaluator, for various projects I’ve had to report on different types of information in different formats and structures. Given that I’ve had limited-to-no access to the actual databases for these projects, I typically have had to request needed information from the project staff members who have access to it. As a result, the data I receive is mostly in raw format, lengthy and complicated to understand at a glance. However, with time and follow up questioning, I’ve been able to extract what I need from within the numbers. Of course, the work is still far from over.I then have had to filter, sort, organize, and restructure the data so that my audience can understand it without being confused or bored...

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