FAQ

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Proposal

How does an engagement begin?

Most people call or e-mail with a project idea, or submit an RFP (request for proposal). Edu prefers to talk with project leaders to clearly understand the client’s project, budget, needs, and expectations. If the client, project, and Edu are a good fit, Edu will submit a formal proposal.

If Edu is unable to consider a project we may be able to suggest other appropriate consultants.

I am applying for funding. Can Edu help?

Yes. We work with project teams to review or write the evaluation plan for major proposals. Including the evaluators in proposal writing helps to focus project deliverables and strengthen the final proposal.

The best evaluation plans usually begin several months before a grant application is due. Edu can often suggest additional funding sources.

What does Edu charge?

Edu works within your budget. 

Edu works with you to tailor a scope of services that delivers the greatest benefit for an available budget.

  • Percent – External evaluation is typically 10 to 12.5 percent of the total project budget.
  • Fixed Rate – Fixed-rate pricing guarantees project cost and deliverables. It is attractive for those who want the security of deliverables within a fixed budget. Some clients design projects in phases, stretching the cost over multiple budget years.
  • Daily Rate We can quote a daily or hourly rate that will vary depending on the needs of the project and expertise of the consulting team.

Edu will not accept a project unless our work will either pay for itself or provide significant value.

What is in a proposal?

Edu proposals typically have two parts: a concise summary (one to three paragraphs) and a detailed plan that includes the scope of work, budget, production phases, and a timeline for deliverables.

Our grant office can customize proposals to match the format required by a funding agency. For example, Edu may contribute a logic model, Theory of Change or agency-specific forms. This allows clients to “plug” an Edu customized evaluation plan into the larger request-for-funds.

Edu is a registered user of the National Science Foundation’s Fast Lane online grant submission system, National Institutes of Health ERA Commons, and is a registered contractor familiar with US federal procurement processes.

Who are Edu’s clients?

Edu works with corporations, foundations, universities, museums, and NGOs. Edu corporate-client contacts are typically vice presidents, division heads, human-resources directors, and training-department managers.

At universities Edu most often works with the president’s or provost’s office, vice presidents, deans, and principal investigators. Edu contacts at museums, foundations, and NGOs are usually directors, trustees, program officers, and project leaders.


Project

What is the first step after a project is approved?

Projects begin with a contract and a detailed scope of work. The contract defines clear deliverables, performance periods, and a payment schedule.

Does Edu visit our site?

Yes. Although many clients opt for a virtual consulting arrangement, allowing travel costs to be dedicated to consul.

Your contract with Edu specifies how often consultants visit your site. Initial site visits are used to organize the project. Follow-up site visits are useful to review progress toward your specific goals and to agree on future work plans.

Who works on our project?

Our process is a synthesis of many talents. For each project Edu forms a custom team of specialists by matching consultants’ expertise with the project’s needs. Edu assigns a project manager to communicate with the client’s chosen point person. Edu core teams include experts in education, training, and evaluation, a researcher, a writer/editor, and a technology specialist. Subject experts are included as needed.

Who are the subject experts?

Edu offers a team of 20 subject experts – all with advanced degrees and significant professional experience. Consultants include specialists in all areas of education, experts in communication marketing and human resources, programmers, database engineers, and web designers. Edu also relies on technologists whose expertise ranges from science and engineering to intellectual-property rights. Edu always provides the names and credentials of team members before a project starts.

How does Edu work with our team?

We like helping clients to organize and execute complex projects. Our process is a fusion of attention to detail, understanding learners, and the uncommon ability to facilitate the project team. We use a needs assessment to gain an intimate understanding of what you want to achieve.

How does the “Needs Assessment” work?

The Edu Needs Assessment has three phases:

  • Discovery – We talk to you and your people. We notice nuance. Consultants use interviews, focus groups, and surveys to understand your project, your team, constraints, and the characteristics of your organization (e.g., its technology, communication, markets, and competition).
  • Audience Research – We talk to your audience. An advocate for learners, Edu studies your audiences to understand who those learners are and what they want, need, and know. We step into the minds of your learners to gain an intimate understanding of their interests, abilities, and what they can understand.
  • Work Plan – Edu presents data from Discovery and Audience Research to agree on what you want to produce for each audience and what outcomes indicate a successful project. We help the project team make clear decisions on who will produce what when then create a work plan with schedule and milestones. This forms the basis of the evaluation plan.

Evaluation

What are the stages of an evaluation?

Evaluation falls into three general stages: front-end research, formative evaluation, and summative evaluation. A project may involve one, two, or all three stages.

Front-end research provides planning information, formative evaluation guides and improves project design. Summative evaluation occurs at the end of a project to document successes and areas to improve.

Explain front-end research.

Front-end research occurs at the beginning of a project and reveals what learners want, need, and know. Results inform the project’s initial planning phrase, allowing informed decisions by design and development teams.

Front-end research often includes concept testing. For example, you may want to explore learners’ interest in or knowledge of a proposed topic. You may need to capture perceptions of a subject matter, identify obstacles to learning, or better define your audience. The result is clear learning goals that provide criteria for formative evaluation.

What is the goal of formative evaluation?

Formative evaluation ensures that a project meets learners’ needs and satisfies learning goals. It provides feedback that allows practical improvements.

Formative evaluation can be implemented at any point in the life of a project – early, mid, or late.

What is early formative evaluation?

Early formative evaluation studies visitor feedback and recommends ways to improve prototype and early stage versions of educational curriculum, project, or products. Early formative answers questions about what works and what should proceed to the next stage of development.

What is mid-formative evaluation?

Mid formative is a tool for improving the teaching-learning process or refining learning activities to improve learner engagement or attainment. Evaluators gather information to assess the effectiveness of an educational curriculum, project, or product. Formative feedback guides choices about what to adopt and how to improve it.

What is the value of late formative evaluation?

Late formative gathers feedback on a finished or near finished curriculum, project, or product. It provides suggestions for fine-tuning, implementation, or recommendations for subsequent versions.

What is the purpose of summative evaluation?

Summative evaluation measures the results or outcomes at the end of a project.

A summative evaluation shows you how well the project met its learning goals and documents outcomes, impact, and produces lessons learned. The summative study can provide evidence of learning gains, engagement, motivation, confidence, and social interaction to determine the curriculum, project, or product’s overall effectiveness.

This new information provides funders with evidence of the value of their investment and informs the planning of subsequent projects. A positive summative evaluation can build a case for future funding.

What is an external evaluator?

An external evaluator is an independent third party with advanced training in evaluation techniques. External evaluators are often required by a funding agency. Typically, an external evaluator will receive 10 to 12.5 percent of the project budget.

What does an evaluator do?

External evaluators help to define project goals and then assess the extent to which the project met its goals. An evaluator’s job is to help the project understand the audience, to articulate specific objectives, and to determine clear and measurable outcomes.

Evaluators create an evaluation plan and provide assessment tools to gather and analyze data and report the results of the project leaders and funding agency.

What credentials and skills does an evaluator need?

External evaluators for education projects normally hold a Ph.D. or other advanced degree, have significant professional experience evaluating similar projects, and offer a clear and unbiased point of view. They are conversant in evaluation techniques and have a command of database and statistical analysis tools.

What is the evaluator’s role?

An evaluator often plays several roles within a project. Those roles include facilitator, unbiased observer, coach, and critical friend. Edu is a strong facilitator, asking questions, listening carefully, and solving problems. As an unbiased external evaluator, Edu provides the objective, third-party perspective required by most funding agencies.

As a “critical friend” Edu offers constructive feedback–advice that’s diplomatic but direct. As a “coach,” Edu guides projects from needs assessment through to completion. Evaluators often provide professional development to help clients build capacity and develop programs.

What is Edu’s strength?

Our clients say that Edu’s strength is working closely with diverse members of the project team to build quality deliverables while getting things done on time and within the specified budget. Edu’s experience shows that client-built projects better serve the client’s unique audience and culture, and survive and grow after the consultant leaves.