Compass Model Early-Stage Evaluation


The Compass Camp Early-Stage Evaluation is a research-practice partnership between Valor Collegiate Academies, R&D partner Transcend Education and researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Education and Human Development. Together, these three organizations have engaged in a continuous cycle of problem identification, solution design, and rigorous testing to examine the implementation and impact of the Compass model. Ongoing evaluation efforts are embedded within the broader goal of amplifying the spread of the Compass model’s key practices, Circle and Badge Work, to Partner schools through Compass Camp.

Guided by the principles of design-based research, the collaboration across teams reflected a process that was interactive, iterative, flexible and aimed at generating useful, relevant and timely evidence. Too often, educational research is conceived and executed in isolation from practice, with limited to no opportunity for study participants or educational stakeholders to define the aims of, select methods for, or present conclusions drawn from the research findings. However, at each stage of this evaluation, the UVA, Valor and Transcend Education teams remain committed to integrating the unique perspectives and complementary expertise:

  • The UVA research team brings specialized knowledge in program evaluation and draws on best practices from the field to meet the unique needs of Compass developers.
  • The Transcend Education team serves as an instrumental liaison for developing and carrying out all shared learning agendas, while also ensuring the collaborative work remains tied to broader strategic priorities.
  • The Valor team provides regular input on all proposed plans and workstreams (often called upon to choose or prioritize among a range of options) and worked closely with the UVA team to run two remote pilot studies with Valor staff and scholars. Importantly, Valor ensures all work aligns with the core values of the Compass model and remains grounded in the foundational elements of its framework.

The objectives for the 2020-21 school year included:

  1. Revisiting and refining the logic model
  2. Enhancing and expanding the measurement plan
  3. Broadening and strengthening the evidence base
  4. Identifying and piloting new measurement approaches
  5. Planning and preparing for 2021-22 evaluation efforts

Project Status

2019-2022

Funding Source

Overdeck Foundation