Today’s grant-makersparticularly federal and state agenciesare putting more and more emphasis on the evaluation section of a grant proposal, which explains how you’ll measure the success of your project. They want to invest time, effort, and funds into a proposal that is well documented and holds stakeholders and investors (in this case, the funding agency) accountable. To score high on this section of your proposal, the author recommends the following:
1. Start with an effective evaluation team. Evaluations should be conducted by a third party with an outside, objective perspective. Consider teaming with a local college or university, as higher-education faculty provide the ideal experience necessary for quantitative (i.e., statistical) and qualitative (i.e., narrative) research.
2. Budget adequately. Your evaluation should comprise 10-15 percent of the total budget for your proposal.
3. Focus on learning and performance outcomes. This is generally the most significant measure of a project’s success, and results should measure higher academic achievement. Since most technology projects require teacher training for success, however, your evaluation plan should also examine your professional development program.
4. Express your plan in clear, concise language. Describe how data will be collected and interpreted as simply as possible. Too often, educators write the evaluation section using academic jargon that is unclear to nonacademics.
5. Include plans for disseminating information. Most funders want to fund “model” projects that can be replicated in other schools. Include plans for reporting your results through articles, on-site presentations at seminars and conferences, access via the web, and/or presentations to your project’s stakeholders.