Evaluate Impact of Professional Development Programs

Background
As a lecturer, Rebekah teaches educational technology courses, mainly to pre-service teachers seeking certification. As a researcher, she teams with experts to evaluate the impact of professional development programs, primarily for practicing science teachers. Her challenge is to measure this impact the programs have on her university student teachers and their respective classroom students.

The Challenge
Before using Remark, Rebekah was processing her forms by placing a transparent answer key over hardcopy instruments, then recording the values onto a cassette recorder. She would then play the tape back and key the data into a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet. Ultimately, that was imported in SPSS for detailed analysis. She says, “I considered using the university’s Scantron® services, but that was too formal and costly.”

The Solution
After researching products on the internet, Rebekah attended the AERA conference in San Diego, where she stopped by the Remark Products Group’s booth and looked at Remark Office OMR. “Flexibility was the main reason I chose Remark Office OMR. I wanted a full-fledged solution that would not only serve my currently diverse needs, but also to help me formulate creative possibilities for alternative assessment options.”

Cost and ease-of-use were also very important to her. Manual data entry was not an option. “At the recommended $10/hour rate, just the data entry would cost over $1000 per project, plus my supervision time. Even if our projects had supported assistants, this phase of the research was too important to trust to anyone less vested in, or familiar with the work. I am confident in [Remark’s] output and comfortable with assigning the data processing tasks to student workers.”

Her largest project to date was an external evaluation of high school student perceptions of the classroom learning environment, and correlating their attitudes on science to district-supplied achievement data and program activities. This 4 year study included a whopping 269,250 fields of data. Before having Remark Office OMR, “I could neither ensure the integrity of that much manually scored and entered data, nor survive the physical stress of meeting important end-of-year reporting deadlines.” On this project, she was able to get the information to the right people in plenty of time. Remark “enables virtually immediate feedback to the lead evaluator, project principals, and participating teachers. All it took was the Remark software and a scanner!”

She goes on to say, “The harsh reality is that our research on the public/private school classroom impact of these university-based programs would never have happened without Remark Office OMR. Happily, I simply can’t put a dollar figure on what it’s been worth to report our results – and to spend more time with my friends and family instead of my beloved transparent keys and cassette recorder.”

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