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Past Projects

Examples of past evaluation, research, and planning work conducted by Hezel Associates are shared on this page.

NYCDOE Community Schools Initiative Evaluation (2015)

New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) began implementing the Community Schools Strategy in 45 schools during Fall 2015 in order to address each student’s unique social, emotional, physical, NYC DOEand academic needs. This is accomplished through partnerships with community organizations that are designed to coordinate existing services with new services to meet students’ needs and improve student learning and development. Hezel Associates served as the third party evaluator for the initial year of implementation, assisting NYCDOE with the development of a logic model for the program, and collecting data related to implementation of the Community Schools Strategy and initial outcomes.

Hezel Associates used extant data provided by NYCDOE to conduct an initial assessment of implementation and analysis of preliminary outcomes in terms of student attendance and behavior. Focus groups and interviews were conducted at selected schools, then analyzed qualitatively, in order to establish a clear picture of implementation from the point of view of district administrators, school administrators, school staff, and staff from community organizations at each school. Hezel Associates provided a completed Community Schools logic model, an interim evaluation update memo, and a final report. This information provided NYCDOE staff with information to assess their success in Year 1 and to inform their future work with respect to community schools.


National STEM Consortium TAACCCT (Round 1) Evaluation (2012 - 2015)

The National STEM Consortium (NSC; www.nationalstem.org), a collaborative of ten community colleges in nine states led by Anne Arundel Community College (www.aacc.edu) in Maryland, was organized to develop nationally portable, certificate-level programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The NSC was funded by the U.S. NSCDepartment of Labor (USDOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program and its goal was to build a national model of multi-college cooperation in the design and delivery of high quality, labor market-driven occupational programs. The 5 STEM pathways include: composite materials technology, cyber technology, electric vehicle technology, environmental technology, and mechatronics. These pathways not only consist of unique content and curricula, but incorporate educational best practices to ensure student success, including cohort design, hybrid coursework, block scheduling, and an online contextualized remedial program created under the grant, called STEM Bridge. All curricula, including STEM Bridge, are available online at Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative.

The NSC partnered with Hezel Associates to provide independent program and impact evaluation of the NSC STEM certificate initiative. Hezel Associates designed a comprehensive mixed methods evaluation to provide the NSC with formative and summative findings to further program improvement and to satisfy USDOL reporting requirements. Data collection activities included interviews with students, NSC members, and key employers; questionnaires for students; and extant employment and wage data retrieval. Qualitative analysis consists of a preordinate scheme to identify themes. Quantitative analysis of questionnaire and extant data was comprised of descriptive statistics and inferential testing. Hezel Associates provided the NSC with annual reports detailing methods, findings, and recommendations, all available on www.skillscommons.org.

Read the final report here: NSC Final Evaluation Report


Bush Foundation Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT) Evaluation (2011 - 2015)

In response to the need for more effective teachers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the Bush Foundation announced in late 2009 its intent to fund $40 million over ten years to 14 institutions of higher education (IHEs) in these three states. The partnership of the 14 IHEs and the Bush Foundation, known as theBush Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT) aimed to transform how the institutions recruit, train, place, and support their teacher candidates. One component of this initiative was the Common Metrics Group (CMG), composed of representatives from each IHE, who came together with other partnering agencies to develop and implement four surveys to measure the efforts at each campus. Each teacher candidate completed three surveys over the course of his/her student career: upon entry into the program, upon exit from the program, and one year after graduation. Supervisors of NExT graduates who were teachers also completed a survey during the graduate's first year of employment. 

Hezel Associates assisted the CMG in a capacity building role, initially administering two of the four surveys in dual formats, conducting the data analysis for all four instruments, and reporting descriptive statistics tailored to individual IHE and Bush Foundation audiences. In addition, Hezel Associates contributed to the validation of the four instruments, conducting inferential tests including exploratory factor analysis and reliability analyses on constructs within each of the four surveys.  Hezel Associates also provided technical assistance in the form of feedback on survey revisions, based on findings from validation analyses. As a result, Hezel Associates played a pivotal role in terms of capacity building and establishing procedures, standards, and templates for future use. Finally, Hezel Associates managed, cleaned, and analyzed data to support data-driven decision-making for the Bush Foundation and NExT. 



A Case Study Analysis: Student Perceptions of the SUNY Applied Learning Program (2015)

Recently, the State University of New York (SUNY; www.suny.edu) Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and the Business-Higher Education Forum announced a partnership to create over 100,000 new applied learning SUNYopportunities for SUNY students. To effectively scale-up SUNY’s program, administrators needed to gain an understanding of student perceptions on applied learning experiences. SUNY partnered with Hezel Associates to conduct focus groups at Cayuga Community College, SUNY Oswego and Stony Brook University.

The three institutions showcased the diversity of applied learning experiences within the SUNY system. In total, Hezel Associates researchers conducted four on-site focus groups. At Cayuga Community College and SUNY Oswego, Hezel Associates facilitated one focus group, while at Stony Brook, two focus groups were moderated by researchers.

A focus group protocol was designed to collect data to assess (a) if students are participating in SUNY’s definition of applied learning and the strategies used and (b) students’ perceptions of applied learning and understanding the outcomes of their experiences. Specifically, this study explored the following research questions:
          1.Did student experiences meet the SUNY definition of Applied Learning?
          2.What were the students’ perceptions of their applied learning experiences?
          3.How did learning outcomes differ from traditional educational experiences?
          4.Do students have a preference in terms of learning approaches?

By addressing these questions, the study informed policy and planning for applied learning programs within the SUNY system. With the analysis of data for each research question, administrators will be able to infer potential program elements to replicate or modify, in order to meet student needs at other SUNY institutions.

Read the full report here: http://www.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/applied-learning/CaseStudy-Student-Perceptions-of-SUNY-AppliedLearningProgram.pdf


Wildlife Conservation Society – NSF ITEST: Bridging the Gap (2012 - 2015)

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS; www.wcs.org) is an institution consisting of five public conservation facilities in New York City (led by the flagship Bronx Zoo) and more than 500 research and conservation WCSprojects around the world. WCS created a new informal education program, called Bridging the Gap, with funding from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant. The ultimate goal of Bridging the Gap was to promote academic and career interest in zoological sciences for minority high school students. It consisted of a series of hands-on activities relating to zoological and environmental sciences, as well as a workshop for participants’ parents. These activities were conducted at the five sites over one semester, with additional mentoring and assistance after the program ends. Three cohorts of about 50 students each participated in this program, over a three-year period.

WCS partnered with Hezel Associates to conduct an external evaluation of Bridging the Gap. As the evaluator, Hezel Associates designed a mixed-methods study to determine the implementation quality of program activities and the impacts on participants (both students and their parents). To accomplish this, the research team developed data collection tools, including questionnaires, for students and parents. Data analysis methods include descriptive statistics and inferential testing (e.g., t-tests) of quantitative data, as well as a preordinate scheme for qualitative data. Findings helped to inform program improvement and were communicated through regular data summaries and annual reports.