The running of SchoolKit Clinics is guided by a set of six foundation principles. These principles address the expectations and obligations of the many different parties involved. It is essential to the success of SchoolKit Clinics that all professional personnel involved fully understand the foundation principles and are committed to them.
Foundation Principle #5 – Evaluation
Evaluation and feedback structures can be put in place from when SchoolKit Clinics first begin and be used to continuously improve clinics for the benefit of all participants.
In the health services context, evaluation of a project, and how well it meets its stated aims and objectives, is typically accomplished as a summative evaluation at the project’s conclusion. But a more valuable use of evaluation is to make it a key component of the project right from the initial, or formative, phases.
This serves to reinforce the things that are working. It also creates the opportunity to pre-empt and address any problems that could compromise the success of the project and may otherwise not be identified until much later.
A developmental evaluation approach offers ongoing interaction between whoever is responsible for evaluation and the rest of the project team. It enables co-design of some of the activities associated with the work (i.e. carers and parents are actively involved in deciding the best way of proceeding). As part of the overall project team, the evaluator is involved in team meetings and discussions, incorporating evaluation and feedback (such as surveys) as an essential part of the project.
Early identification of what is working and what should be improved is central to this method of evaluation. This enables the evaluation to be tailored to specifically meet the needs of the project. The key benefit of this process is that refinements and corrections can be made in an ongoing manner throughout the life of the project. Also, evaluation can be used to support team learning about evaluation processes and the translation of research into practice.
Evaluation structures incorporated into the development of SchoolKit Clinics provide valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses in the clinic process.
Feedback gathered informally can lead to changes being made to clinic process which have an immediate impact and improve family satisfaction.
Also, surveys are used to obtain information (both quantitative and qualitative) to evaluate the experience of both parents and carers and school staff participating in the clinics. The surveys can capture feedback that identifies both what is working well and what adjustments need to be made to help improve clinics in future.
For more about informal and formal evaluation processes go to Ongoing Evaluation.