Cornerstone Evaluation Associates

Our Projects

Professional Development and Training

Collaborating with the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute to provide critical information to the Yale National Initiative

Begun in 1998, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute (PTI) was modeled after the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute that was started some 25 years ago as a content-based professional development program. The model represents the collaborative effort of both public and private institutions. In Pittsburgh, the model calls for public school teachers (Pittsburgh Public Schools) and college/university faculty (Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University) to partner in a series of academic seminars to strengthen teachers’ knowledge and to enhance their classroom curricula.

The Yale National Initiative was begun in 2001 to continue and expand the institutes nationally—with specific focus on school districts with students from low-income and minority communities. A two-year preparation phase was set in place—calling for research and planning activities to inform and guide the expansion. Selected to participate in the preparation phase, the PTI engaged Cornerstone to undertake evaluation activities deemed critical for understanding the Institute model, drawing out ‘lessons learned’ and informing future implementation. The topics on which Cornerstone focused the research were those of particular interest to the Yale National Initiative—learning more about the accomplishments of the PTI, outcomes of students instructed by PTI participating teachers and the systemic impact of the PTI.

Monitoring the Pittsburgh Opera Academy’s program for integrating opera into basic curriculum

The educational wing of the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Opera Academy (POA), is an innovative professional development program for educators. The focus of the POA is to guide teachers in integrating opera into their basic curriculum, to expose them and their students to opera performances and to assist them in forming collaborative networks of opera-users.

The POA engaged Cornerstone to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of its professional development program. We responded with an approach calling for a time-series (pre-mid-post), multi-strategy (telephone interviews and questionnaires) study to determine the impact of the POA workshops and performances on classroom practices, the degree to which teachers integrate the arts and opera into their curriculum, their perceptions of the impact of arts integration on students and the degree to which collaboration enhances the depth of arts integration. Findings were used to inform program changes and seek additional funding for continuing professional development efforts.

Using Phillips’ model for evaluating PNC’s manager training program

PNC Bank’s Quality Curriculum is a program for training bank personnel in applying the principles of quality to the processes and systems that they use to serve customer needs. PNC came to Cornerstone to assist them in determining what changes needed to be made in program content, difficulty level, methods of delivery and support in order to enhance participant satisfaction and encourage them to use the skills they learn once they return to the workplace.

Cornerstone turned to Phillips’ business-based evaluation model in working with PNC and identified three critical levels/areas for developing instruments and collecting data—participants’ perceptions of the Quality Curriculum program, their understanding or knowledge of what they learned in the program and their workplace use of the skills they had acquired. Additionally, Cornerstone gathered information that helped PNC monitor the organizational improvements that resulted from this training program. The long-range goal was to use the measures developed in this ‘demonstration’ project throughout PNC’s training programs.