526 King Street Suite 203
Alexandria, VA 22314
(Tel.) 202-452-8611
(Fax) 202-452-8620

U.S. Department of Education
2005-2008 Grant Period  

Purpose:  The U.S. Department of Education requires evaluation of all projects funded under the “Teaching American History” (TAH) grant program in the 2005-2008 grant period.  The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) will fulfill this function by agreement with the local education agency (LEA) and its institutional partner.  Please note, however, that AALE External Evaluation Services are not intended to meet the requirements for the Invitational Priority described in the TAH Application.  

Qualifications:  The central function of AALE is the evaluation of the effectiveness of educational programs and institutions.  Founded in 1992 with the historian Jacques Barzun as board chair.  With grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Knight Foundation, AALE has also developed new methods of evaluation of liberal arts learning beyond strict accreditation.  Since 2001, AALE has expanded its accreditation services to K-12 schools nationwide.  AALE’s external reviews of academic programs emphasize student learning outcomes, teacher quality, and core curricula.  Further, its accreditation standards, at both K-12 and college levels, require the study of U.S. history in general and the founding era in particular.  AALE therefore brings unusual expertise to the very area of the TAH program, including numerous affiliated professional historians.  

Core services:  AALE will conduct both quantitative and qualitative evaluations and report both objective and subjective results in three areas:

I.  Evaluation of knowledge gains:   This evaluation will draw on: student demographic data; student performance data (state assessments, SAT II, AP, National Writing Board, student writing samples, etc.); and teacher knowledge, professional qualifications, and performance data.

II. Evaluation of products and events: This evaluation will focus on pedagogical products and project events, such as: curricular units, textbooks/lessons, and other teaching materials; internet and software applications, video, and distance learning; summer institutes, in-service workshops, and other university-, district-, or school-based events

III. Evaluation of management: This evaluation will examine the administrative performance by the LEA and partner(s); the responsibilities and performance of project personnel; the project timetable and benchmarks; delivery of services; and budget.   

Optional services:  AALE will consider requests for “tailored” external evaluations, beyond the Core services listed above, at additional fees.  Supplemental services may include: detailed examinations of teacher qualifications; development of tests of knowledge of American history; analysis of state history standards; outside examiners for prizes and awards; and other services that are practicable, closely aligned to the design of the proposed project, and in keeping with the Department’s intentions.  

Form of evaluation:AALE will conduct evaluations on-site, assigning site visitors to conduct interviews, attend events, etc., and off-site, gathering assessment, personnel, and survey data, project documentation, and other relevant information.  American historians affiliated with AALE will have active roles in all phases.  

AALE will provide a prose narrative/report divided into three areas, as above, with additional areas if optional services are elected.  Each area will be scored by reviewers on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).  The three areas will be weighted as follows in computing a final overall score:  I = 50%; II = 30%; and III = 20%.  In future years, data allowing comparative evaluations of projects will be available.  

Personnel:  AALE will draw on its extensive contact base among American historians, schoolteachers and administrators, and college/university faculty and administrators to conduct evaluations.  AALE has constituted an Advisory Board for TAH Evaluations, co-chaired by Dr. James Deneen, Retired Director of the Advanced Placement Program, Educational Testing Service, and Dr. David Beito, Professor of American History, University of Alabama .  

Timetable:  External evaluation will occur annually.  Project personnel will provide AALE with all necessary information to execute its duties as external evaluator, in a timely manner, beginning with baseline data.  If any indications are raised in annual reviews, applicants will file a response within two months addressing problems raised and describing methods of rectifying them.    

Fees:  Fees will be determined in consultation with the Academy depending on evaluation design.AALE will provide applicants with a Memorandum of Understanding to include in their application.  Please contact the Academy for more information.

American Academy for Liberal Education
526 King Street, Suite 203
Alexandria, VA 22314
202-451-8611, 202-451-8620 (fax)
website:  www.aale.org 
email:  aaleinfo@aale.org