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Respond to each peer initial post and question at the end with a response about 3-4 sentences long.

Peer #1

 

1. Discuss the importance of internal validity of the program evaluation process.

In this week’s lesson, we studied and reviewed the types of methodology, program designs and internal validity and the threats of it. In an ideal program evaluation, an evaluator would like to support cause-and-effect methods. The only research design that supports that conclusion would be experimental design. Based on the type of program evaluation, cause-and-effect may be difficult to conduct especially if there is more than one variable changing another. In order to conduct an experimental design, “two elements have to be included in the methodology-random assignment of participants to conditions and manipulation of the independent variable” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 186). These types of experiments are often conducted in a laboratory and since program evaluation are conducted outside of labs and the fact of ethical concerns, most researchers and evaluators use the quasi-experimental design. This is a more common research approach for program evaluators. It allows evaluators to be ethical and practical in their approach to obtaining information and analyzing data. Due to the quasi-experimental design, it decreases the chances of the cause-and-effect change. Instead, evaluators have less control over factors or variables that can most likely affect the results of the evaluation. Internal validity is the evaluator having confidence in that no other variable except those being studied caused the results. Due to evaluators have less control over the possible factors or variables that can affect the results, it makes it difficult to come up with a solid conclusion at times. Internal validity is important because it helps control the study and produce the most efficient results. Internal validity also helps keep evaluators accountable for the analysis and trustworthiness of their evaluation.

2. Identify at least three potential threats to the internal validity of your program evaluation. Explain your reasoning for why the threats exist.

I am conducting an evaluation of the Boys & Girls Club of York County After School Program. The Boys & Girls Club is a big part of the York County Community. It provides a safe place for children and teenagers of our county and it provides academic success for all. The after-school program is the most used program that the Boys & Girls Club of York County offers. With a large enrollment, it is a pivotal part of the growth of our young ones. York County Boys & Girls club has several locations that offer the after-school program, this is because York County is a very big county and spreads over several school districts. One potential threat to the internal validity of my program evaluation is a selection. Selection refers to “the method for which participants are selected to participate in the research” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 176). For my evaluation, I will be using one of the several locations. I will be using the bigger location in Rock Hill, South Carolina. When selecting participants, it will be a little bit of challenge due to some participants being either underage or needing consent to participate. Also, another selection challenge is random versus volunteer. Most individuals such as the afterschool director, teachers, counselors, and children may not be so forthcoming when trying to conduct this evaluation. This is why it is significant to build a rapport with the faculty and students. Another internal validity threat to my evaluation would be testing. Testing refers to “the changes in behavior due to being observed or tested” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 178). This would be a threat because I will be using children and teenagers who use the afterschool program services. Children may tend to change their answers or the way they conduct themselves in evaluation due to many reasons. Some reasons may be the evaluator asking too many of the same question, posing to the child or teenager that their answer is wrong or that being interviewed means they did something wrong. Lastly, one potential threat could be maturation. Maturation refers to “natural changes in people due to the passage of time” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 174). Since the research is being conducted for an afterschool program that caters to ages 6 to 18, there can be variables such as changes in mood or behavior over the course of the evaluation. This can be a tricky subject especially if the evaluation lasts for a long period of time.

3. Recommend strategies to address the identified potential threats and lessen their impact on the program evaluation results.

There are ways to lessen the impact of internal validity threats on program evaluation results. For maturation, understanding how much of the change was due to the evaluation and how much is due to the program. Understanding the difference could help lessen the impact of maturation on results. Selection could be lessened if program evaluators do a re-evaluation of the subjects being evaluated. This could help better understand the background of both participants and program to better estimate time, management, and possible evaluation participants.

Peer #2

My program evaluation is on the Rapid Re-Housing program of Society of St. Vincent dePaul CARES. The program is aimed at reducing the amount of homeless families and individuals that currently resides is Pinellas County. The program houses individuals and families that are literally homeless. The objective is to get the families and individuals housed within 90 days of entrance into the program. The program life is 6 months or $10,000 which every comes first. There are some exceptions to the rules and the program constantly changes. The program evaluation that I am going to be using is the assess needs of the program participants. The three program criteria that I will be using to evaluate this program is first, the socioeconomic profile of the community, second, the level of social problems within the community, and the last criteria is the agencies and institutions currently serving the community.

1. Discuss the importance of internal validity to the program evaluation process.

The importance of internal validity will always be in the top 5 of effectively evaluating a program because there is a certain level of degree that must be certain, and as an evaluator there will have to be a conclusion that the program being evaluated caused participants to improve. (Posavac, 2011, p. 174) There are other reasons why internal validity to program evaluations are so high, a factor is the instrumentation being used, instrumentation how procedures are being measured. Another factor is history, history being a wide range of things but for internal validity sake we look at the events occurring between the pretest and the posttest that affect the participants. One more factor is selection, selection for internal validity

2. Identify at least three potential threats to the internal validity of your program evaluation. Explain your reasoning for why the threats exist.

The first potential threat to internal validity of my program evaluation is attrition. Attrition is when people will differ in terms of whether they will begin a program and they differ in whether they will complete a program they began. (Posavac, 2011, p. 176) The second potential threat to internal validity of my program evaluation is regression. Regression in terms of internal validity refers to means and statistics. Regression to the mean warns that whenever the value of a variable is extreme, the next measure of that variable is likely to be less extreme. (Posavac, 2011, p. 176) The third potential threat to internal validity of my program evaluation is testing. In terms of internal validity outlines effects of testing refers to changes in behavior due to being tested or observed. The results from repeated uses of the same observation technique may differ simply because respondents have become more familiar with the tool. (Posavac, 2011, p. 178)

3. Recommend strategies to address the identified potential threats and lessen their impact on the program evaluation results.

A recommended strategy to address the identified potential threat and lessen their impact on the program evaluation results is simple, preparing the facility for further evaluation. With this recommendation you should begin their work with less threatening approaches, the participants (employees/clients) have better chances of leading service providers to see the usefulness of evaluation and to value the contributions of evaluators. (Posavac, 2011, p. 183)

Peer #3

Adaptability

Public administration agencies are constantly changing. Federal, state, and local laws, policies, and procedures are changing more than ever due to the evolving economy. One of the best characteristics that these agencies, their leadership, and employees can have been adaptability (Rautakuiui, 2013). The ability for an agency or person to adapt to changes can be the defining key to success or failure. Adaptability is when the agency or people are open to change and tolerate of changes.

An agency that has the ability to adapt is able to make the changes needed based on new laws, policies, and procedures. It is able to stay adapt to economic changes such meeting the needs of the public by providing the resources, services, or products they require. Agencies that have the adaptability characteristic can see opportunity where other agencies may see failure. For instance, these agencies are able to determine that a procedure that once worked correctly is now incorrect and make the changes needed to improve that procedure for the current time. Agencies that adapt can continue to grow.

An individual who has the adaptability quality are often known as people who just go with the flow (“Adaptability”, 2013). Adaptable individuals are able to take direction from leadership and move forward easily. If these individuals have plans that do not work out, then they are easily able to come up with another plan. These individuals love to learn and are not afraid to take on new opportunities even if they are not guaranteed. These people are constantly seeking innovative ideas to improve their agency and themselves in a positive manner which allows them to grow with the agency.

I personally believe adaptability is one of the best characteristics in public administrators and agencies. I have seen how the lack of the quality has failed many within my current organization as well as in life. I have seen several individuals in my life that are not able to adapt to change. For instance, we just had an individual at my current job retire after her 25 years. She was still rather young and had a wealth of knowledge. She had more job knowledge than many supervisors in the agency however, she could not adapt to change. It is for this reason that she held the same title for all 25 years. Sadly, she wasn’t the first of these in this organization. I have also seen many individuals not take opportunities that they would have been perfect for because of fear of change. Agencies are no different, if an agency is unable to adapt then it cannot grow in the changing economy. There is so much diversity in the world and all individuals have different needs, as a public agency it is a must that it be adaptable to a wide variety of these public needs.

The two conflicting criteria in public administration is probably compatibility with state regulations and public acceptance. There are many state laws, procedures, and policies that are written that many citizens do not agree with. For instance, currently in Georgia as well as many other states, if you do not pay your child support your driver’s license is suspended. Of course, the noncustodial parents do not agree with the policy as they argue that if they do not have their driver’s license they cannot find work. Custodial parents view this differently as they believe if you are working to begin with and paying child support properly then you wouldn’t have lost them in the first place. State regulations require it, and this is not always accepted publicly by many non-custodial parents and others who support them. It is very difficult for public agencies to satisfy everyone.

Peer #4

The two conflicting things that conflict within an organizational structure in public administration is Public acceptance and Promotion of private efficiency better known as public- private partnerships. The public-private partnership is a joint venture where the state contracts to public for profit entities to perform the essential duties of public administration. Politics, vouchsafes, and political ideologues are at the root of this practice. Conservative states who are in favor of smaller governments have been engaging in this practice en masses since The Great Recession. Researcher Stephen Linder states, “The drive for privatization as programmatic movement is typically attributed to free market advocates and conservative politicians joined in common cause against liberal welfare state. Partnerships have been viewed as a hard line advocacy of privatization. From this perspective, they serve a strategic purpose, enlisting the support of more moderate elements that are less opposed to state action on principle. Partnerships are accommodationist; they hold back the specter of wholesale divestiture and, in exchange, promise lucrative collaboration with the state” (Linder, S., pg. 03,07, 1999).

I have seen this first hand, The state of South Carolina has contacted much of its daily functions at the Department of Workforce (employment office) to a company called ResCare. ResCare employees help with individuals filling out applications online, but it has gotten increasingly difficult to speak with a public servant(an actual state employee) about programs that will help a person increase their lot in life. This a paragon of a private company contacted by the state to perform public administration duties while capitalizing for their stakeholders while the individual is not getting the best chance to succeed. All in the name of smaller government and a myopic ideology.

Public acceptance is the second conflict that an organization has to handle. Public perception is tantamount to public acceptance so subterfuge is the method of choice. The least the public knows the better seems to be the creed. The United States has regressed in my humble opinion to a tribal state. Most Americans do not think about their counterparts as much as their own households, so it is fair to attest that public value along with political ideology play a major part in public acceptance. Researchers Torben Beck Jørgensen and Barry Bozeman elucidate further, ” Public values, political legitimacy, and responsible government are mutually reinforcing. The more effectively the [political] system’s representational institutions work to connect citizens meaningfully to the world of politics, the more optimistic they are likely to be about the prospects for collective social efforts. This seems to suggest that political deliberation and public discourse not only point the way to public values but also contribute directly to them” (Jørgensen, B.T., and Bozeman , B., pg. 03,  2016).

If the public does not value the service the public will not accept the service. How many times have we read that some type of service has been severely slashed such as Medicaid or SNAP and hear the TEA party praise the action, or another school shooting with many Americans believing in more gun control only to be denied by politicians afraid of losing their high paying powerful positions due to the NRA disseminating misinformation. Public Acceptance must view the policy as a valuable one in order for it not to be challenged or protested against. Torben Beck Jørgensen and Barry Bozeman expound on the values that will get acceptance from the public without protest or challenges in court stating,  “The public sector must not serve special interests, it must serve society as a whole; the public sector is there for everybody, it is not the extended arm of a particular class or group. Related values include the will of the people, loyalty to society, altruism, and solidarity. Social cohesion is another obvious value to place in this group, that is, the idea that society is not divided up into a series of mutually conflicting fractions or subcultures but that certain bonds unite us all”(  Jørgensen, B.T., and Bozeman , B., pg. 08,  2016).

Note each response must be at least 3-4 sentences long

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