Consumer Action, NEFE make it easy to evaluate financial ed programs

Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Director of consumer education at NEFE provided an overview of NEFE and its Evaluation Toolkit®

Consumer Action and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) joined forces in late August to educate our network partners on NEFE’s Evaluation Toolkit® and other NEFE resources. More than 40 CBO partners participated in the webinar program, which was facilitated by Peggy Muldoon, director of consumer education at NEFE.

In the two webinars, Muldoon provided an overview of NEFE, including its history and the myriad of non-commercial, unbiased and evidenced-based financial education resources it provides to consumers (from high school-age to adults), educators, community partners and researchers. Muldoon also presented the latest iteration of NEFE’s Evaluation Toolkit®. The toolkit enables financial educators to design evaluations that help to demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of financial instruction.

NEFE developed the Evaluation Toolkit® in 2014 and released an updated version this summer. Consumer Action introduced it to our network affiliates shortly after the release (via webinar).

“The current iteration of Evaluation Toolkit® is much more robust than the previous version. Community educators who are hesitant to evaluate their financial education programs can rest assured: The toolkit does all of the difficult work for them, “said Consumer Action Associate Director of Outreach and Training Audrey Perrott.

Muldoon pointed out that many financial educators perceive evaluation to be a scary prospect. But, she warned, a financial educator without an evaluation measurement is like an explorer without a compass. Financial educators need to evaluate their programs for a number of reasons, including: documenting findings for accountability purposes; fostering sustainability of the programs; identifying effective practices in financial education; building a shared meaning of program effectiveness (internally and externally); and generating knowledge of the programs. To engage webinar attendees, Muldoon had them type in which of the reasons resonated with them.

Muldoon covered when to evaluate a financial program as well, laying out the reasons to do so before the program (pre-test), immediately after the program (post-test), and once a short amount of time has passed after the program ends (in order to evaluate long-term changes).

The toolkit includes an evaluation manual (for case managers) and an evaluation white paper (for researchers). Muldoon encouraged attendees to visit the toolkit website and to create a free account. (The only information required is a name, email address and profession.)

The new toolkit is also much more user friendly. It enables educators to: select from a question bank of over 800 questions or input their own evaluation questions; use an existing template or create a custom template for evaluations; email evaluations to learners; create a custom “thank-you” message for learners; track progress over time; view evaluations online or in print; and score evaluations. Currently, the templates are designed for NEFE’s high school financial education curriculum. In the next few months, however, NEFE will be adding additional evaluation templates for various age groups and levels of financial education.

To learn more about NEFE and its resources, visit the NEFE website.

 

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