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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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From the Director's Desk

An introduction to the issue on Continuous Improvement by HFRP's Founder & Director, Heather B. Weiss, Ed.D.

Theory & Practice

Mindset Matters

Ann Dykman of MPR Associates illustrates that an organization's culture and mindset are important factors in the success of using evaluation for continuous improvement.

Ask the Expert

What Is a Learning Approach to Evaluation?

Rosalie T. Torres, Ph.D. is Director of Research, Evaluation, and Organizational Learning at the Developmental Studies Center in Oakland, California. Her 24-year career in evaluation has focused on researching, teaching, writing about, and practicing a learning approach to evaluation.


Increase Equity Without Losing Efficiency

Professor of Public Administration, Joseph Wholey, explains that contrary to popular thought, it is possible to increase program equity without compromising program efficiency-through performance measurement and management systems.


Moving Ahead on Results Accountability: The Human Element

Sara Watson of the Pew Charitable Trusts explains that a results accountability system must extend beyond the purely technical to also address the management of people.

Promising Practices

Helping Nonprofits Strive for High Performance

Amy Coates Madsen describes how, by setting best practices for nonprofits, the Standards for Excellence program both helps nonprofits to improve and increases public confidence in them.

Promising Practices

Reflective Assessments: A Tool for Learning

Sharon Edwards and Ira Cutler of Cornerstone Consulting Group explain how organizations can use reflective assessments to assess their progress and consider the choices ahead.

Promising Practices


John Bare of the Knight Foundation shares his foundation's definition of the term “risk” when it comes to investing in initiatives, borrowing from the language of money managers.

Promising Practices

Participatory Evaluation for Continuous Improvement

Kim Sabo of Sabo Consulting and Dana Fusco from York College, CUNY illustrate how they conducted a participatory evaluation of an after school literacy initiative to support its continuous improvement.

Questions & Answers

A Conversation With Paul Light

Paul Light is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., an instructor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and author of 14 books, including most recently Pathways to Nonprofit Excellence. Previously he was Director of the Public Policy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Evaluations to Watch

ProDES: A Continuous Improvement System for Juvenile Justice

Philip Harris and Lori Grubstein of the Crime and Justice Research Center describe the “bottom-up” development of ProDES, an outcome-based information system that tracks youth in the juvenile justice system.

Evaluations to Watch

Evaluating Citizen Schools

Charlie Schlegel of Citizen Schools explains how their evaluation strategy successfully balances the need to determine program impact with the need for continuous improvement.

Beyond Basic Training

Advice From the Experts on Nurturing Strong Full Service Schools

The following are excerpts from an evaluation panel at the conference, “Nurturing Strong Full Service Schools: Building Bridges with Communities,” that took place on May 20, 2002. It was the fifth in a series of national conferences about full service schools organized by Margot Welch and the Collaborative for Integrated School Services at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Panelists shared their evaluation findings and lessons learned.

New & Noteworthy

The New & Noteworthy section features an annotated list of papers, organizations, initiatives, and other resources related to this issue's theme of Evaluation for Continuous Improvement.

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Harvard Family Research Project gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of Harvard Family Research Project and do not necessarily reflect the view of our funders.

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project