Community School Forum visitors
Community School Forum visitors
Community School Forum visitors
We believe that evaluation can lead to more effective implementation of programs, which, in turn, leads to thriving. Thriving programs. Thriving organizations. Thriving communities and people.
It’s where we get our vision – evaluation that works. We make data useful by transforming information into knowledge, bridging gaps between theory and practice, and putting the right data in the right hands at the right moments. We facilitate thinking, explore the story and context behind the data, and consider multiple perspectives – all for more meaningful and robust analysis of data that leads to action.
At Apex, we believe that utilization of evaluation begins through regular and on-going feedback to clients and program staff for the purposes of continuous improvement. Evaluation utilization also happens by sharing findings through formal and in-formal presentations to program staff, leadership and other stakeholders. Lastly, utilization occurs through the generation and dissemination of written reports, customized for different stakeholder groups to be both accessible and informative. We specialize in clearly communicating the outcomes and impacts of an initiative with products and reports that are useful, attractive, and accessible to a wide-range of stakeholders.
We use complementary values, theories, models, and methods to guide our work. Systems Evaluation, Developmental Evaluation, Results-Based Accountability, and Data Visualization contribute to making evaluations practical and relevant to projects and initiatives being implemented in real world settings. We strive for inclusion and cultural competence in everything we do.
Rooted in Systems Thinking, Systems Evaluation considers the complex factors that are inherent in the larger system in which a program is embedded. It is a foundational framework that provides a language and process for thinking explicitly based on universal patterns of thinking: distinction-making, part-whole system structures, cause-effect relationships, and multiple perspectives.
Developmental Evaluation is for innovative initiatives being implemented in dynamic and complex environments where participants, conditions, interventions, and contexts are in flux, and pathways for achieving desired outcomes are unknown and/or subject to change. This method supports reality-testing, innovation, and adaptation in complex dynamic systems where relationships among critical elements are nonlinear and emergent. Developmental evaluation reminds us to be agile in our thinking and to think together about data, context, implications, and continuous improvement.
Results-Based Accountability is a set of principles and processes to help make evaluation more practical and accessible. It distinguishes between program-level and community-level results; avoids jargon and uses clear, plain and consistent language to engage a variety of stakeholders; and considers context and trends when examining data. It centers the evaluation on three broad and simple questions: How much is being done? How well is it being done? Is anyone better off?
It's more than making data look good. It is about understanding the cognition of how we process information and move from pre-attention to long-term memory to actually building knowledge. These techniques are used to produce user-friendly reports and other products that will stimulate thinking and understanding.
School-Based Health Care
Apex has been supporting the data and evaluation needs of School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and other school-linked health programs since 2004. We serve as external evaluators for the statewide networks of SBHCs in Colorado and New Mexico, providing data, technology and evaluation solutions that improve care and assess impact. Our concept of a Data Hub emerged from our work in SBHCs in response to the need to gather data from different Electronic Health Records across multiple SBHCs, collecting data on SBHC operations, integrating those data with different screening and feedback tools and relating everything to public health sources.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Since 2002, Apex has been engaged in evaluating 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC), a U.S. Department of Education afterschool program. We have worked at both the grantee and statewide levels. Apex instituted and supports a web-based data management system that streamlines site-level collection of program and participation data across over 100 sites. This system supports day-to-day operations and provides real-time data snapshots to a cadre of consultants that work to promote continuous quality improvement. The system generates the federal Annual Performance Report and results in a comprehensive statewide evaluation report.
Evaluation runs on data, which relies on efficient and effective systems for data collection, management and reporting. We’ve learned that these systems are not just for evaluation, but essential for implementation of the initiative itself.
We build and support data systems that collect new data in multiple formats and platforms from simple surveys to content management tools that run on mobile devices, web-based, and/or scan forms. Our systems are designed to be interoperable so that we integrate other existing data and systems including secondary public health and educational data sets. We strive to automate analyses and reporting and apply effective data visualization principles to promote use of data. In bringing together different data sets and systems we create a data hub – a single solution for data when there is no single solution.
Examples of our work include: A web-based data system to manage after-school programming and participation, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for School-Based Health Centers, iPad-based data collection tools for screening and assessment, iPad and web-based data management systems for tracking activities and documenting implementation outcomes, and web-based, iPad and scan survey tools to collect stakeholder feedback. These technologies take the burden of evaluation activities off of program staff, allowing them to focus more on program implementation while at the same time providing accurate and reliable data.
In 2014, we were designated a Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Technologic Innovation as part of a network of national and regional STD Prevention Training Centers. We are the only private company in a network that includes university and health systems such as Columbia University, Denver Health, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, University of California San Francisco, and University of Colorado. We contribute to the network by promoting principles of effective use of technology for collecting and reporting data on health behaviors, primarily through the demonstration of our iPad App, Just Health.
Just Health is an app geared toward adolescents that aims to reduce stigma around sexual health and behavioral health, collect risk data, and produce instantaneous reports that improve communication between patient and clinician. Just Health also features aggregate reporting for population management, health promotion, community resources, and professional development recommendations.