Thursday, June 18, 2009

National HIPPY Evaluation Summit

Miriam Westheimer, Director of HIPPY International at the Evaluation Summit

Research and evaluation on the effectiveness of HIPPY has many different permutations across the US and internationally. In early May, Texas HIPPY in partnership with Colorado Parent Child Foundation, HIPPY International, HIPPY USA and Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) sponsored the first HIPPY Evaluation Summit. Evaluators and invited guests from outside organizations spent two days discussing the cumulative lessons learned from HIPPY research and plotting a path for collaborative and strategic evaluation work across the country. It was fascinating to hear from our “outside” experts what, in their opinion, our strengths are, and identification of do-able and worthwhile next steps. One big “aha” moment for me was the realization that our evaluation strategy should focus on the strongest and most faithfully replicated aspects of our program model. To me this means that evaluation that measures primary effects of HIPPY (school readiness and parent involvement) should be our main focus. Evaluations on secondary effects of HIPPY (child abuse prevention, nutrition/obesity prevention, civic engagement) are tempting but less desirable. One exciting opportunity that I can see is to use our online MIS in conjunction with the relationships we’ve built with school district evaluation departments to identify the critical dosage at which HIPPY makes the greatest impact. I’ve always been curious about which point in our 90 week program is the watershed for change to take hold. Knowing this can help us know how hard to push for families to complete the curriculum.

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