WIDA Early Years pilots state logic model development process

April 2, 2021

What is the “logic” behind our state agency’s initiatives for supporting multilingual children and families? Three state agency teams from Connecticut, Maryland and New Mexico have been engaging this year in a process to articulate just that. By drawing on its strong partnership network, the WIDA Early Years program partnered with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC) – a project, like WIDA, based at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – to pilot a process to help state teams create logic models.

Logic models are graphic representations of how a program, initiative, or project is supposed to work. This, in turn, can lead to more consistent, productive and goal-focused efforts among all stakeholders involved. By implementing a pilot phase of the WIDA Early Years Logic Model Development Process for State Teams, WIDA now has a new resource that will soon be available to all interested WIDA Early Years member states.

Background

In July 2019, WIDA partnered with WEC program evaluators to conduct an evaluation of the WIDA Early Years program in order to identify opportunities for improvement and growth. Worth collected feedback from state team partners representing six of the seven 2019 WIDA Early Years member states. From the evaluation, WEC learned that several state teams felt they could benefit from a logic model, but lacked the expertise or capacity to undertake such a project.

In response to the evaluation feedback, WIDA Early Years expanded its partnership with WEC to include developing and piloting a logic model process for state teams. The process combines WEC’s expertise in facilitating logic model development with the WIDA Early Years team’s expertise in promoting equity for multilingual children and supporting state agency teams.

Annalee Good, co-director of WEC and a specialist in the development of culturally- sensitive logic models, along with WEC researchers Robin Worth and Carmen Bartley, collaborated with Lorena Mancilla, director of WIDA Early Years, and WIDA state relations specialists Demetria Joyce and Karina Cortés Hudack, to create the WIDA Early Years Logic Model Development Process for State Teams.

The WIDA Early Years team then identified teams in Connecticut, Maryland and New Mexico who were interested in participating in a pilot program of the process. In Fall 2020, those teams collaborated with WEC and WIDA to receive support in drafting logic models for state initiatives focused on multilingual children and families.

The logic model process

As a result of this project, WIDA Early Years can now more effectively support member states in developing logic models that visually represent states’ alignment of resources and intended goals of its work around multilingual children and families in early care and education (ECE) programs or settings. Ultimately, states will have a tool that clearly articulates the parameters, components and goals of their work, and how resources, activities, outputs and outcomes align with each other.

There are many benefits to creating logic models. For example, they can serve to identify opportunities for collaboration, and identify tools and resources needed for outreach efforts in the state. “Logic models can serve as a truly helpful resource in an organizational change management strategy,” said Rachel Demma, director of early childhood systems development with the Maryland State Department of Education. “They promote collaboration and buy-in on the part of stakeholders, clarify problem statements and proposed solutions, and provide a transparent representation of the who, what, why and how complex change will take place.”

Additionally, logic models can help state agency teams answer questions around equity such as, “How does the state ECE system promote equity for multilingual children and their families?” State teams can also answer evaluation questions such as, “What data can we gather, share and discuss to measure our progress towards identified goals and outcomes?”

States’ perspective

To date, the Connecticut and Maryland teams have both completed initial drafts of their logic models. “We are hoping to use the logic model as a roadmap to guide our short and long term actions, to plan data collection to determine the success of our efforts, and as a framework for making any necessary mid-course corrections,” said Michelle Levy, education consultant with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

“(Our logic model will) provide a clear road map for ourselves as we move forward in expanding our statewide strategy for supporting dual language learners and their families,” said Rachel Demma from the Maryland team. “A logic model will also help us connect this work to other statewide priorities and initiatives.”

The WIDA Early Years team is excited to continue to support these teams as they roll out their logic models to their stakeholders.

Interested in learning more about how WIDA Early Years can support your state in developing a logic model? Contact EarlyYears@wida.us for more information or to learn more about how your state can become a member of WIDA Early Years.

About the authors

Demetria Joyce is a state relations specialist whose work includes serving as a primary contact to WIDA Early Years member states and assisting states in the planning and roll-out of Early Years products and services.

Robin Worth is a qualitative researcher with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC). In her role as a principal investigator, she leads the statewide evaluation of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Academic & Career Planning project, the sustainability study for Pathways Wisconsin, and a number of other evaluation projects for the state, districts and other organizations

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