Toolkit for the OSEP TA&D Network on How to Evaluate Dissemination

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Cover page to the evaluation toolkitby Richard Sawyer, Ph.D.
April 2012

Toolkit in PDF

NICHCY is very pleased to share this toolkit on evaluating dissemination with our colleagues in the TA & D Network.

The printed version of the toolkit has handy tabs that let you turn easily to its key sections, but that’s not possible online, is it? So we’ve divided the toolkit online into its sections, listed below in the Table of Contents. Each section will open in a new window.

First, though, let us introduce the purpose and structure of the toolkit.

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Dissemination | For TA & D projects, including NICHCY, dissemination is essentially about transferring information and resources, building knowledge and skills, and enhancing capacities within the special education and disability communities we serve – i.e., persons with disabilities and their families, service providers and other professionals, as well as with other projects within the TA & D Network. OSEP has asked that the network’s dissemination work be relevant, of high quality, and easily applied and used by target audiences.

Why evaluate dissemination? | Why evaluate your dissemination work? Here are a few good reasons:

To determine how well your project’s dissemination objectives are being achieved (perhaps these are already outlined in your OSEP grant’s project plan?) ;

To identify strengths and areas needing improvement in your dissemination strategies, including strategies focused on specific information, resources, and materials being disseminated;

To better meet the information and resource needs of your target audiences;

To improve your staff’s skills to effectively disseminate; and

To meet your OSEP grant and contract requirements.

How is NICHCY involved? | The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) has been charged with providing information and resources to the TA & D Network projects to support effective dissemination. TA & D projects serve many audiences, including State Education Agencies, school administrators, working teachers, early intervention providers, and families. In order to deliver information and resources to those varied intended audiences in ways that promote improved practice for students, projects will need to implement a variety of dissemination strategies.

Purpose of the toolkit | This toolkit is intended to provide guidance to OSEP’s TA & D projects in evaluating dissemination strategies, methods, and products. Evaluation of dissemination may be done by a project director, a dissemination coordinator, or an evaluator (depending upon your staffing).

This toolkit is one element of the National Dissemination Center’s larger Dissemination Initiative, available on our website at We hope this document and our other dissemination resources will be helpful in increasing the effectiveness of your project’s dissemination efforts.

Framework you’ll find in the toolkit | This toolkit includes an overall framework for providing:

  1. the need to evaluate dissemination plans;
  2. descriptions and examples of three main approaches in evaluation of dissemination;
  3. brief overviews of typical data collection methods; and
  4. sample data collection tools.

Users of this toolkit are encouraged to work with your organization’s evaluation staff or evaluation consultants to work out details concerning specific evaluation methods – including the nuts and bolts of identifying samples of participants, collecting data, analyzing data, and developing reports of evaluation work.

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Suggested citation

The suggested citation for the toolkit is:

Sawyer, R. (2012). Toolkit for the OSEP TA & D network on how to evaluate dissemination: A component of the dissemination initiative. Washington, DC: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

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Table of Contents

Use the links below to travel to the major sections of the toolkit.

An Approach to Evaluating Dissemination

Formative Evaluation

Process Evaluation

Summative Evaluation

Data Collection Methods

Focus Groups



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