The Atlanta AERA symposium in which the original five studies of applications of participatory evaluation were presented was very well attended and culminated in a lively exchange among presenters, discussants and members of the audience. We knew that we were on to something worth exploring further.
Here we present revised versions of those original papers. Lorna Earl begins with her study of internal collaborative evaluation within a large metropolitan school dis-trict (77,000 students). Two major evaluation studies of school improvement activities-one for the secondary panel and one for the elementary-were coordinated by the research department and involved the direct participation of school and central board office administrative and consulting staff. Clay Lafleur then reports on a similar model of evaluation but in a smaller school district (46,000 students) and a smaller research shop. Lafleur interviews and surveys participants in several collaborative projects carried out over the past several years.
Brad Cousins introduces an approach to participatory evaluation that involves the evaluator working in an external organizational context; a non-fee for service, schooluniversity partnership arrangement. He shares with us his views on two projects with apparently differing degrees of success.
Each of the above chapters provides rich data concerning the impact of participatory evaluation and factors influencing observed impact. Linda Lee and Brad Cousins report on Linda's work with a charitable foundation as an evaluation consultant to secondary schools competing for and managing external funds for 'home-grown' school improvement projects. While data were collected too early in the process to report on longer term effects, the chapter has much to say about the nature of the process and its effects on participants, both educators and the researcher.
Finally, Jean King provides some insightful reflections on past and current projects. She begins by offering a framework for thinking about collaborative work and then locates her own projects within. Jean comments on both progress and effects. Michael Huberman then summarizes his remarks delivered at the Atlanta symposium and offers some keenly honed theoretical insights prior to examining each of the models of participatory evaluation in terms of what they do and do not offer.