Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 7, No. 3 (2010)

Enhancing evaluation of a large scale civic education initiative with community-based focus groups

Liliana Rodríguez-Campos, University of South Florida
Michael J Berson, University of South Florida
Aarti P. Bellara, University of South Florida
Corina M. Owens, University of South Florida
Connie Walker-Egea, University of South Florida


The views of the community and their role in school initiatives are important during school-based programs. When the ideals of the community and the school are aligned, the chances of the initiative being sustainable and successful are increased. For that reason, a large county-wide school program evaluation used community member focus groups to inform school leaders and program directors on the views of the community during the initiative. The purpose of conducting community member focus groups was to understand to what degree the views of the community members were synchronous with the goals of the program and the impact the program was having on the community. This paper addresses how the focus groups informed the evaluation, lessons learned on organizing and conducting focus groups, and the impact school programs have on the surrounding communities.

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