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Washington Statewide Family Engagement Center Project

Cropped shot of an affectionate young couple spending time with their little son and dog at home
Evaluating a collaborative family engagement infrastructure across Washington state
  • Client
    U.S. Department of Education
  • Dates
    2022 – 2027

Problem

Family engagement is central to students’ academic achievement, yet meaningful partnerships with families are difficult to develop.

As schools and districts strive to address students’ academic recovery and developmental needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaningful family engagement is critical. The Washington Statewide Family Engagement Center (WASFEC) is a newly formed collaborative center in Washington state. It is led by Education Northwest in collaboration with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Community Center for Education Results, Roots of Inclusion, and Washington Family Engagement, and is funded by the Department of Education.

The center is rooted in Washington’s emerging statewide family engagement policy framework and infrastructure, which focuses on equity, shared responsibility, and coordination. It needs support in three areas:

  • Monitoring progress and compliance with federal regulations
  • Measuring the performance and implementation of its activities
  • Understanding its impacts on students and families

Solution

NORC is partnering with Education Northwest to independently evaluate family engagement programming and initiatives in Washington state.

The U.S. Department of Education asked NORC to design and implement a process and impact evaluation of the Washington Statewide Family Engagement Center. The process evaluation will document the center’s development and monitor its performance and implementation fidelity. The impact evaluation will use a matched quasi-experimental design to assess the center’s impact on educators, families, and students.

The following research questions are guiding NORC's evaluation efforts:

  • Are educators aware of statewide family engagement goals and resources?
  • Did WASFEC resources increase teacher knowledge of evidence-based family engagement strategies?
  • Did WASFEC resources and activities affect teacher implementation of evidence-based family engagement strategies?
  • Did WASFEC activities have an effect on family involvement? To what extent did the program increase the involvement of historically marginalized groups?
  • Did WASFEC program activities increase student engagement and academic achievement? To what extent did these impacts vary by grade and student demographics?

Result

The evaluation will help understanding of WASFEC’s impact and enable it to refine and adjust programming.

WASFEC programming is holistic and multi-layered, and the evaluation is designed to capture the perspectives of its diverse beneficiaries. In addition, it will provide a broad statewide perspective on family engagement while simultaneously taking a deeper dive to provide key information at more local levels.

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