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Evaluating the Character Education Program

Introduction

The logical evaluation of an educational program is generally based on the matters of an assessment of its efficiency, its structure, and helpfulness in solving particular aspects of education. To represent a proper evaluation of education and the variety of programs, it is necessary to clear up what has been already stated and proved and what is still under question and to choose the most effective approach that can combine qualitative and quantitative techniques (Wolf, 2004). The ways of evaluating the evidence-based character education program may be numerous, but the main aim of the evaluation should be closely associated with the matters of conducting the meaningful analysis, defining the potential benefits of the program, and outlining the key challenges which will arise when the program will be implemented.

Program Evaluation

It is necessary to evaluate educational programs oftener to upgrade them or identify areas that need to be improved. “All education takes place concerning goals”, and as a rule, all these goals are considered to be implicit (Lindgren, 2007, p. 427). Taking into consideration this fact, it is possible to admit that evaluation of any educational program has to pass through several steps, and each step has to meet different purposes and demands to achieve the desired success and proper results. Such kind of evaluation of the programs ensures that they can meet the changing needs of the learners or the market which it addresses.

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These programs are not dependent on their own, and contents are determined mainly by the trainers it is meant to train and the market needs which keep on changing. It is evident that the programs are not evaluated but ends up being absolute, irrelevant, or even substandard. Wolf (2004) states that under the condition when “an evaluation worker has had considerable experience in evaluating the types of programs that he or she has been called on to study” the process of evaluation may be disturbed by any possible “question or challenge a program’s objectives in light of this experience” (p.15). This is why the ideas which I want to touch upon in this paper have to cover as many different but still important details as possible to present a proper and effective evaluation of the chosen educational program. There are several issues I would like to focus on:

  1. The possibility of the course to achieve educational objectives as it is affirmed in the materials delivered. This question is mainly dependent on the changes which are expected in the program goal. I have decided to include this question for evaluation because objectives of the study are misunderstood most of the time or not evaluated properly, and they are the main core activities which determines effectiveness of the program
  2. A burning necessity to evaluate learners and the program concerning the fact weather it is possible to meet the expectations. Any learner is also a major stakeholder of the program because the program is designed for their purpose. Therefore, there is a need for their views to be taken into considerations on whether the project is done minor or major overhaul.
  3. The instructional methods as a powerful means which are used in the program. Instructional methods evaluates on the delivery mode of the project therefore, it shows on how the project delivers its content to the intended users. Delivery of the project is paramount as it promotes understanding of the program when it being taught.
  4. Possible measurement of the effectiveness of the program in relation to others which address the same issues. Efficiency of the program is paramount as it shows how the project is performing. Its change would increase on quality of the program which makes it much effective and of high quality.
  5. Enquire on the topics which would be recommended to be included in the future programs. Changes in the topics to be included in future promote diversification of the project and it is able to accommodate new suggestions in the project. It also ensures that the project is up to date with needs of the future project.
  6. Finally, the evaluation should be able to rate the following attributes of the project; content quality, Usefulness and clarity of visuals, its delivery, hands on learning opportunity, and opportunity of leaner’s participations by asking questions. The rating to these questions should be grouped on whether they are excellent, good, fair, poor, or not applicable.

Analysis

The necessity and capability of the assessment of the elaborated program may be featured with the opportunity to regard it from various perspectives. Thus, the evaluated logic model of the program entails everything that is required for the properly composed program and the problem statement that is regarded as the basis for the program. Wolf (2004) defines several educational objectives, and one of the most important is the idea of “a statement of the desired change in the behavior of a learner” (p.35). However, it is not the only objective of the program under consideration, and another statement has to be taken into account. For example, the problem statement that has to be inherent to any program. The problem statement of the existing program is weak, and the description cannot be regarded as helpful enough for the evaluation of the program.

The logical discussion of the provided identity of the program is closely associated with the matters of rationales and assumptions of the program. Considering the necessity to provide the analysis of the logical structure, it should be emphasized that this structure may be evaluated only from the position of outputs and external factors, like any program, in general, is the adaptation for the external factors and necessities of the environment (Embassy of the United States Department of states, nd). Thus, from the internal point of view, the program may be perfect even if it does not fully suit the external requirements and the environmental grounds of the program.

Challenges

The main challenges of the program may be connected to the weakness of the problem statement and the improper implementation of the valued goals into the program itself. “A problem frequently encountered in expressing educational objectives is that such statements become lengthy and wordy” (Wolf, 2004), this is why it becomes more important to define the expression or the objective given, clear everything up, and express the necessary problem statement as clearly as possible. The real requirements should be associated with the problem statement and the outline of the goals. Originally, the meaningful evaluation of the program requires a detailed and thorough analysis of the logic model of the program, which is a valuable tool for the planning and development of the program creation and implementation. Additionally, the structure of the program and its logical planning are closely linked with the necessity to think over the program strategy that is responsible for the implementation of the innovations and clarify, whether the program is required and suitable for the existing circumstances.

Another challenge is the communication strategy. The fact is that the issues of communication define the interconnection of the particular elements of the program, and define the effectiveness of the links, arranged within the program. The process of communication is a properly created logic model and may be regarded as a powerful implementation and performance tool. It can reveal the activities of the program, as well as the possible outcomes, thus emphasizing the connection between these two components (Wolf, 2004).

Potential Benefits

The benefits of the program implementation are closely associated with the matters of the adaptation for the educational requirements. This process of adaptation is aimed to make all evaluating criteria and questions “suitable for learners in the program being evaluated” (Wolf, 2004, p.113). It does not matter what course has to be followed and what has to be used, however, the most important role has to be performed by those who deal with the questions and the outcomes which are to be expected and define what may be emphasized in the chosen programs and some alternative programs as well. The fact is that all the benefits, linked with the implementation of the program, are based on the further extension of the educational program, and better structuring of the given materials. In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that the real values of the program are covered in the factor of activities and outputs. Originally, the matter is not in the activities, required for the implementation of the program, but in the activities, which the program originates. Consequently, it should be emphasized that the benefits of the program implementation are closely linked with the better structuring of the entire process, consequently, the logic model, created for outlining the program is linked with the basic aspects of the program functioning. Originally, the necessity to structure the program, and control its logical model should be covered by the necessity to evaluate the entire principle, which the program is based on (Lindgren, 2007).

The key benefit of the program is aimed at the principles of better community interaction among students. The fact is that the logic model of the program is aimed at demonstrating the real purpose of the identified goals of the program. Originally, Positive results depend on the values of the achievements, and the resources, which should be used for accomplishing the program goals.

Program Objectives

Character Education Program is the plan that is designed for instructors to learn the psychological peculiarities of students whose behavior and learning goals are partially predetermined by their character. The importance of this program lies deep in its essence to divide responsibilities and be able to change characters according to the requirements set by the society students live in. McElmeel (2002) suggests that “many school districts and institutions created a list of desired traits, each with their terminology and definition” (p. xiii), this is why the number of confusing situations may be decreased on the one hand because people have certain rules to follow or, in another way, be increased because it is still problematic to explain why one society has to follow one rules, and another society has to be attentive with their own rules. Additionally, the program has also worked on different projects and testing for students to check the connection of skills and their abilities. The program under consideration is aimed at defining the role of character analysis and development necessary for improving learning skills. It is also focused on establishing specific educational and academic programs that will contribute to creating favorable conditions for the learning process. Finally, the character education program also emphasizes the design of different communication strategies for the improvement of an academic setting for students of different characters and tempers. In other words, the researchers intend to examine what academic tools should be introduced to meet the needs of students and to facilitate the process of knowledge acquisition.

To accomplish this task, the program is based on several steps. First, the program provides a questionnaire that serves to reveal negative character traits among the students and their reasons. These are different psychological tests and they consist of leading questions. Second, the program involves new curriculum plans that can contribute to shaping good positive features like friendship, curiosity, leadership, and communicability (McElmeel, 2002, p. 23).

Program Target Group

For purposes of the study, the identified target audience is two groups of students of different ages: third and fourth-grade students (20 persons in each group; male and female participants are equal). The variation in age is explained by the necessity to identify the effectiveness of the program in terms of age, level of knowledge, and issues on how character traits are connected with these two variables. Arising from this point, the researchers use a mixed methodology thus applying quantitative and qualitative methods to the research. With the help of quantitative research, it is possible to make use of numbers, statistics, and analytical information that is useful to make the necessary decisions and conclusions. In addition, qualitative methods make it possible to use descriptive studies and evaluate social interactions and descriptions which are so important for the program evaluation (Creswell, 2005).

When choosing the groups for further examination, the researcher is guided by the psychological and gender aspects to identify how the implemented programs will affect the knowledge acquisition of students and their actual interest in the learning process. In particular, the freshmen will be engaged in the character formation projects and testing and seniors should participate in programs defining their characters and their correlation with their skills and abilities.

Choice Justification

The experiment has some limitations connected with cultural and social issues. Hence, the results of the research are impossible to apply to all ethnic groups of the population and all age variations. Therefore, the research is valid for students of this particular age and nationality. The program is evaluated according to external aspects, and the given task has been accomplished because the researcher has managed to identify specific generalized benefits of the program. About character analysis and development, the program has defined that it is easier to impose some restrictions and rules on third-grade learners and generate positive character traits creation. The implemented academic programs and testing have also defined that fourth-graders have more distinct character traits and, therefore, they have a rigid level of knowledge acquisition. As a whole, despite the limitation imposed on the research, it is proved reliable and valid. However, the finding obtained during this research cannot be applied to adult learners due to fact that their character traits are impossible to alter and develop (Boeije, 2009, p. 180).

Statement of Problem

The education process involves the transmission of knowledge from one source to a recipient or recipients to create awareness on a given range in a particular field. This may happen in a school setup or an informal setup. The character education process includes the implementation of diverse programs which are drafted by the relevant government departments entrusted with the role of education transmission. In most cases, this role is normally assigned to the Department of Education. For the majority of the government plans to be implemented, there is a need to have well-laid programs by the relevant department. A good educational program will determine the progress achieved by each of the individual stages of either formal or informal education (Creswell, 2005).

This paper wishes to explore the methods that are open for a program implementer to use with the sole aim of looking at ways in which the data can be collected, compiled, and analyzed. The method to be used may in different cases depending on the program under the question because in most cases, the contents of a program may have minimal variances in most cases (Creswell, 2005).

The program selected in this paper involves the effectiveness of administering a formal character education program to elementary-age students from a less than average socioeconomic status. The first stage will involve the establishment of the number of students who may be affected by the character education program to identify the number of resources that may need to be allocated by the ministry of education. The data collection methods will involve sampling the data after seeking permission from the relevant authorities (Embassy of the United States Department of states, nd). To collect data perfectly, there is a need for random sampling of the data.

Measurement Procedures

This particular paper will involve the administration of open-ended interviews and making observations from those observations. This will make it possible for the interviewer to float questions to the interviewees in an interview all geared to extracting information from the students. However, the right protocol ought to be followed by the people carrying out the interview. Reliable instruments ought to be used while doing the actual collection of data. The sampling should be done purposefully to avoid unnecessary information. The strategies that are available for use and each one has a purpose that it serves in the sampling process. The differences between the variables ought to be maximized as much as possible to ensure that in each. In most cases, the variables may include race, academic level, and the gender of the interviewees. The data is then recorded systematically in interview forms, audiotapes, photographs, and other recording devices. To ensure that it is successfully done, it may be coded to.

Measurement Method

In general, the method used by a researcher to gather information from the given source for a particular purpose depends on several factors. It is the role of the interviewer to organize the factors and to come up with a complete report on the information required. The above-mentioned factors need to be adhered to for this to be done successfully. It is only after these things have been met that the research becomes useful.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the real value of the program and the aim of the program analysis is based on the goals and achievements of the program implementation. Depending on the environmental purposes and the values of the program, its challenges and benefits vary essentially because the changes of the environmental circumstances may introduce positive evidence into challenges and vice versa. Therefore, the thorough analysis of the environment, requirements for the program, and the values, which are pursued, define the problem statement factor for the program implementation.

Reference List

Boeije, H. R. (2009). Analysis in Quantitative Research. US: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Creswell, J.W. (2005). Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person Education.

Educational Programs. (nd). Embassy of the United States Department of States. 2010. Web.

Lindgren, H. C. (2007). Educational Psychology in the Classroom. New York: Wiley.

McElmeel, S. L. (2002). Character education: a book guide for teachers, librarians, and parents. Greenwood Village: Libraries Unlimited.

Wolf, R. M. (2004). Evaluation in education: Foundations of competency assessment and program review. New York: Praeger Publishers.