This volume presents the Talent Development evaluation framework, an approach for evaluating urban school reform interventions deeply embedded in the work of the Howard University Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR) and the Talent Development Model of School Reform. The CRESPAR Talent Development (TD) evaluation approach is rooted in several traditions of evaluation that intentionally seek engagement with contexts of practice. These traditions include responsive, participatory, empowerment, and culturally competent approaches to evaluation. The CRESPAR TD evaluation approach also takes up themes of inclusiveness and partnership advanced by the recent promotion of multiple methods in evaluation. With these themes, the TD evaluation approach is viably grounded in well-accepted evaluation concepts and principles. The approach further seeks to be practical, useful, formative, and empowering for the many individuals served by TD evaluations and to give “voice” to persons whose perspectives are often ignored, minimized, or rejected in urban school settings.
Beyond such grounding and ambitions, the CRESPAR TD evaluation framework seeks to re-position evaluation in low-income urban contexts as accountable, not only for producing accurate and relevant information on the program being evaluated, but also for enabling and contributing to the program’s social betterment and social justice intentions. This re-positioning is effected primarily by a collaborative, co-constructionist model for evaluation in which CRESPAR program developers, implementers, and evaluators – along with key program stakeholders – partner together in envisioning, implementing, and evaluating programs that are responsive to and make cultural sense in the context at hand. CRESPAR TD evaluators are contextually and culturally engaged and are responsible for this engagement. This volume highlights the approach’s five major themes: engaging stakeholders, co-construction, responsiveness, cultural and contextual relevance, and triangulation of perspectives.