Evaluation resources

The NOAA Education community aims to build a culture of both conducting evaluations and helping programs use that information to make wise decisions about their programs. This shifts how we think about evaluation from the study of projects and programs to evaluation as a form of inquiry that drives the continuous improvement of education programs.

Evaluation capacity-building

Office of Education evaluation staff work with educators across the agency to build program capacity to evaluate. Evaluation capacity-building is a key component to integrating evaluation into the management of education programs. It includes training, coaching, and technology support that happens at both the Education Council level and the field office staff level. Training comes in the form of workshops and presentations that are designed to help staff coordinate and collect data on their programs. Coaching means continuous and adaptive support by evaluators by teaching new skills and supporting reflection. Support through technology comes in the form of centralized technologies like databases and surveys, which can reduce the burden of data collection on participants and managers.

Policy and history

M&E framework (2010)

The NOAA Education Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (2010) outlined a vision of evaluation for the NOAA Education community. It envisions a cultural norm within the agency in which evaluation is an integral part of program management.

Monitoring and evaluation working group (2010-2014)

Monitoring and Evaluation Education Council Working Group was established as part of the 2010  Implementation Plan. The goal was to increase NOAA’s ability to track and evaluate the impact of the agency’s investment in education. 

Data team (2014-2020)

The Data Team was established by the Office of Education to provide evaluation support for the 2015 Strategic Plan. The team worked with Council members to track progress on the FY16-17 and FY18-19 Implementation plans. 

M&E committee (2020)

The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Committee was established by the NOAA Education Council in 2020. The purposes of the M&E Committee are to: 

  1. Develop evaluation policy recommendations, for approval by the Council. 

  2. Monitor the implementation of evaluation policies. 

  3. Monitor the evaluation of the implementation of the Education Strategic Plan.

  4. Ensure compliance with legislative and administrative mandates for evaluation.

Evaluation Studies 2010-2019
  • Chesapeake Evaluation 2010 - conducted by Michaela Zint

  • Evaluation of NOAA Education Portfolio 2010 - conducted by National Research Council

  • SOS Network Evaluation 2010 - conducted by Kate Haley Goldman

  • Teacher at Sea Program Evaluation 2010 - conducted by Bora Simmons

  • Partnerships Portfolio Working Group 2015 - conducted by an internal working group led by Diana Payne and John Baek

  • Teacher at Sea Program Evaluation 2015 - conducted by STEM Consulting

  • Ocean Acidification Education Needs Assessment 2016 - conducted by Public Square Communications

  • B-WET National Evaluation System Analysis 2017 - conducted by Michaela Zint, et al.

  • Hollings Alumni Study 2017 - conducted by Insight Evaluation

  • Hollings Barrier Analysis 2018 - conducted internally by Jessica Cooper and Catalina Martinez

  • STEM Watershed Grants Pilot Implementation Evaluation 2018 - conducted by Jessica Sickler and Anita Kraemer

  • Ocean Exploration and Research Education Program Review 2019 - conducted by an external committee

  • Ocean Guardian School Program Evaluation 2019 - conducted by John Baek

Related resources

Knack training materials: Are you a NOAA Educator who needs some help entering data into the Knack database? This page contains Knack training materials developed for the B-WET Program, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 

Reports: This page contains assessments, literature reviews, and other studies that have been supported by the Office of Education. They serve as a resource to inform the development and implementation of education programs run by NOAA and its external education partners. 

Designing Education Projects manual: The Designing Education Projects Manual (PDF) was created to help NOAA education and outreach personnel develop and evaluate education projects. The manual has been used in a professional development course that provided participants with an overview of the project development process and an opportunity to learn and practice skills in designing projects, creating evaluation plans, and using evaluation tools for environmental education and outreach projects. While this course is not being offered currently, the manual is available for download.