Evaluation of NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Data Action Team Process

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) is committed to evaluation of its work. In 2016, NCECF hired Impact Thread to evaluate its process to identify shared, whole-child, birth-to-eight measures of success that put children on a pathway to grade-level reading. The work was the first phase of NCECF’s Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways) initiative.

A Data Action Team was charged with identifying and recommending a set measures. Their work was to engage in a landscape survey of existing national birth-to-eight indicators and those being used by North Carolina state organizations, and to select a limited number of Measures of Success that best suit North Carolina’s context based on the state’s strengths and needs.

Impact Thread documented and measured the effectiveness of the Data Action Team process, including the effectiveness of engaging the larger stakeholder group in informing the work.

Highlights of the findings include:

The Data Action Team (DAT) Process

  • NCECF’s reputation played a large role in creating initial buy-in from DAT members and the large stakeholder group. Without the initial buy-in, this project likely would not have been as productive or influential.
  • Facilitator responsiveness and participant adaptability contributed to the DAT’s success. Throughout the four meetings, the mission of the DAT became clearer and the role of the facilitators became increasingly important and influential.
  • Communication between the DAT and the larger stakeholder group helped members better understand the broad purpose and specific goals of the DAT.
  • Having a clear and agreed upon goal – third grade reading – was essential to process.
  • Enthusiasm dipped early in the process when there was less clarity of purpose and the task felt overwhelming.
  • By the last meeting, more than 90% of Data Action Team respondents wanted to be involved in the implementation of the Measures of Success. 

Stakeholder Engagement

  • Stakeholders felt informed about the Data Action Team’s work.
    • 83% said updates met their expectations.
    • 91% said they felt informed about the DAT’s progress.
  • Stakeholders valued the Data Action Team’s work.
    • 96% said that it filled an important role in developing the Measures of Success.
    • 87% said felt positive about the process and outcomes
  • Stakeholders believe their input was valued.
    • 78% said that they felt their input and expertise was taken into consideration during the creation of the Measures of Success
    • 91% said they felt that they had the opportunity to inform the DAT’s work.
  • Stakeholders are invested in the Measures of Success.
    • 96% said that they were excited about the shared Measures of Success,
    • 82% said that they would use the Measures of the Success.
    • 91% said that they felt like they were part of a team that is working towards completing the mission of NC pathways to grade level reading,
    • 96% considered themselves advocates of the Measures of Success
  • 100% of stakeholders said that they planned to continue to engage in and support the work of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Initiative.

Download the full report.