University at Albany
 

New York State: Ready to Learn Evaluation

WMHT Educational Telecommunications, in partnership with the New York State Education Department, and with the support of nine other New York public television stations, launched the New York State: Ready to Learn (NYS: RTL) initiative. CHSR conducted an evaluation with the goal of establishing statewide procedural guidelines and recommendations for stations that will be implementing RTL in the future.

Ready to Learn service provides parents, teachers, and caregivers in New York's Tri-state area with public television resources that help children develop a lifelong love of learning. RTL provides on-air, online, and print resources, as well as community outreach designed to help get young children ready for success in school. Participating agencies convened a planning coalition to assess, align, and integrate RTL digital media products and services into early childhood education across New York State.

Expected outcomes included development and piloting of a plan to integrate RTL resources into early education settings, increased commitment of childcare staff and early education teachers to professional development, and stronger parent support for the integration of RTL products in learning environments.

Evaluation & Research

The evaluation of NYS: RTL was primarily process-oriented with the major goal of establishing statewide procedural guidelines and recommendations for stations that will be implementing RTL in the future. The principal activity of interest was training workshops conducted by stations to promote RTL with teachers, parents, and other community members. Essential elements of the evaluation are described in chronological order below:

  1. Each station defined in writing a target population for its pilot project as specifically as possible. Shared information included whether services were geared for teachers, early childcare professionals, parents, libraries, and/or other community agencies.
  2. Needs Assessment: Before conducting RTL workshops, a brief survey was administered to assess the needs and concerns of prospective attendees, as well as their level of familiarity with RTL. CHSR designed prototype surveys to give stations flexibility to add questions to address unique needs.
  3. Training Evaluation: Workshop evaluation forms were distributed at the conclusion of the workshops so that attendees could report immediate thoughts and impressions. These forms were created and distributed by CHSR, based on input from a project workgroup.

Pre and post workshop surveys were designed to assess strengths and weaknesses of each station’s approach to planning and conducting RTL. The RTL evaluation involved analyses of responses to these surveys. In general, participants across audience types responded favorably to the workshops and reported that they were likely to incorporate RTL resources into home and classroom activities.

Contact: Dr. Kenneth Robin