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K-State Today

February 18, 2019

Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation team receives national award for PEARS

Submitted by Patrice Scott

OEIE team

The Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation received a national award for developing the PEARS program that helps Extension educators and nutrition education professionals document the impact of their programs.

The Program Evaluation and Reporting System, or PEARS, received the Excellence in Extension Program Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association's Extension Education Evaluation TIG at its recent annual conference in Cleveland. The award is given to an evaluation of outstanding quality, focusing on accuracy, feasibility, propriety and utility, with particular emphasis placed on utility in improving Extension programs, policies and/or accountability.

PEARS grew from a collaboration between Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation and K-State Research and Extension to help nutrition education professionals and Extension administrators manage program data and demonstrate impact. The office team built the program to streamline evaluation efforts of KSRE and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, or SNAP-Ed, in Kansas. Today, 28 states use PEARS to track SNAP-Ed efforts and three rely on the system to evaluate their statewide cooperative extension programs.

Evaluation data is entered in and pulled from PEARS in real time, fostering data-based decision-making related to program progress, implementation and impact. PEARS provides a means for Extension and nutrition educators to accurately evaluate and report on the program's impact, make improvements, and assess progress affecting policy, system and environmental changes. These data currently help programs better understand what works, in what conditions, and why, which is ultimately helping them better allocate time and funding to maximize their impact as well as meet the needs of their communities and build on their successes.

"It is so gratifying for our team to be recognized with this award," said Cynthia Schuman, director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation. "Not only have we impacted the lives of our fellow Kansans, but we’ve armed Extension and nutrition education professionals around the country with a better tool to make better decisions. This demonstrates the important tie between data and innovation."

The Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation staff members who developed PEARS are Aaron Schroeder, Joel Wallace, Brent O'Connor, Connor Knightley, Jevin Subedi, Levi Mann, Derek Beins and Allison Teeter. Student team members are Jarod Deweese, Victor Valdez, Josh Patterson, Rakshanda Parwath, Weston Chan and Jordan Roth.

To learn more about the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation or PEARS, visit k-state.edu/oeie/.

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