PERC Brochure

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Brochure for the Program Evaluation and Research Center in the WVU College of Education and Human Services.

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The Program Evaluation and Research Center (PERC) conducts applied research and evaluation to inform the work of practitioners and policymakers concerning the efficacy of existing programs and the needs of specific populations to improve educational and social outcomes.

Our expertise spans the PK-16+ educational continuum, and we have the human resources and technological expertise to support research and evaluation across the entire lifespan of a project. We conduct research and evaluation to guide project conceptualization, design, and development, focusing most often on the pursuit and implementation of external funding opportunities. We coordinate information gathering and data collection for process improvement throughout project implementation, and we conduct formative evaluation, report generation, and dissemination of data-based recommendations for improvement and scaling-up for the future.

We work to disseminate our findings nationwide through scholarly outlets and popular media and to translate findings into clear, immediately useful implications for policymakers and everyday citizens. Our evaluation research efforts are of particular use to policymakers and government agencies who want to determine the effectiveness of policy and program interventions. In today’s evaluative climate, with forces such as No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and increasing accountability mandates at all levels across all educational systems, the need for expert guidance in applied research and evaluation has never been greater.

Reagan Curtis, Ph.D.Director Program Evaluation and Research Center


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Preliminary consultation involves meeting with the PERC director and faculty affiliates with expertise related to your organization and programs to specify your evaluation and research needs. This preliminary consultation allows PERC to identify a range of ways our expertise can help you meet your goals.

PERC evaluation professionals will collaborate face-to-face and/or at a distance as needed to fully support development of a robust research or evaluation plan that meets your needs. This includes identifying appropriate evaluation models and existing measures for needs assessment, process and product evaluation, and overall applied research and evaluation design, including development of timelines to guide data collection, analysis, formative feedback loops, and summative report generation.


If the director and faculty affiliates determine that your project has potential to attract external funding, PERC will collaborate with you on the funding application, will take the lead in crafting an evaluation design, and will write all evaluation components of your proposal.


In cases where existing needs assessments or measures of process and/or product criteria do not exist, PERC can develop original measurement instruments. This includes initial development, review by content experts, pilot testing, and revision based on expert and pilot test data.


For projects that require entry of quantitative and/or qualitative data from hard copy, this includes all data entry, systematic procedures and analysis to ensure data integrity, and provision of dataset to client with detailed codebook/data dictionary.


Data analyses and report generation includes quantitative and qualitative data analyses, results/findings report generation with the report delivered to the client in both electronic and hard copy formats, and consultation with data analysts to ensure that the client fully understands analyses conducted and interpretation of results/findings.


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Darran Cairns (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at WVU) came to PERC with innovative ideas for integrating math and science through engineering design. Darran has a passion for helping K-12 students recognize the power of science and mathematics to address societal challenges, and he knows that teachers play a critical role in students’ lives. Over several meetings, we fleshed out ideas about how to help middle and high school teachers utilize engineering design with their students.

The goal was to make math and science come alive for students and build strong foundations for the next generation of great scientists. We agreed to target National Science Foundation funding for this project. PERC identified a team with mathematics, science, engineering, and educator expertise, and provided collaborative space along with research and evaluation design expertise. With Darran as principal investigator, the team included school superintendents from two counties and faculty from three colleges at WVU.

PERC graduate students helped the team identify relevant literature to include in the grant proposal and did groundwork data collection to describe the educational contexts within which the proposed project would be implemented. PERC worked hand in hand with the team supporting the project through proposal writing and submission. We continue to work closely with Darran to identify and pursue additional funding opportunities.


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The Clinical Translation Science Institute (CTSI) funded by the National Institutes of Health ($19.6 million across 5 years) is the largest of our currently funded projects. Dr. Christopher C. Colenda, chancellor of the WVU Health Sciences Center, described this project as “easily the most important and transformative undertaking by this institution after the cancer center”.

PERC’s director serves as assistant director in charge of the Tracking, Quality Improvement, and Evaluation Program (TEQuIP). Additionally, the project funds a full-time research assistant professor and three graduate research assistants. TEQuIP is charged with formative and summative leadership personnel evaluation and utilization of a logic modeling process to evaluate and facilitate continuous quality improvement for all WVCTSI activity.

The WVCTSI requires rigorous, ongoing tracking and evaluation to ensure that overall goals are achieved. TEQuIP is responsible for gathering data, analyzing them to determine whether or not adequate progress is being made toward each overall aim, and whether each core is effectively carrying out its planned activities and progressing toward meeting itsspecific aims.

TEQuIP assists each program in its evaluation process, empowering core personnel to prevent, recognize, and solve their own problems rather than simply conducting prescribed activities. TEQuIP is mission-driven, results-oriented, and transparent in its tracking, evaluation, and quality improvement efforts.

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PERC is preparing future researchers in the broad field of education with real-world research and evaluation project experience. By actively engaging graduate students in the design, preparation, funding, and implementation of applied research and evaluation, we provide experiences that develop students’ research skills in authentic ways to better prepare them to enter tenure-track positions.

Graduate students collaborate with faculty members in ongoing research projects as well as initiating their own investigations. The interdisciplinary nature of many projects provides students with opportunities to join research teams and collaborate with other graduate students and faculty members across the university. Students are involved in experiences along the entire spectrum of scientific investigation from research planning and design to data collection, data analysis, report preparation, professional conference presentations, and manuscript development. In addition, they gain real-world understanding and practice in developing grant proposals for external funding through a number of different agencies. Our goal is for graduate students to be better prepared and equipped with skills to conduct meaningful research that addresses the needs of the community.


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West Virginia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, veteran status, religion, sexual orientation, color or national origin in the administration of any of its educational programs or activities, or with respect to admission or employment. Further, faculty, staff, students, and applicants are protected from retaliation for filing complaints or assisting in an investigation under the University’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan. Inquiries regarding the University’s nondiscrimination policy may be directed to the director, Affirmative Action Office/Equal Employment Opportunity Programs, West Virginia University - Office of the President.

The WVU Board of Governors is the governing body of WVU. The Higher Education Policy Commission in West Virginia is responsible for developing, establishing, and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the state’s four-year colleges and universities.


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