chapter  11
24 Pages

The Dropout Prevention Mentor Project: Delivering Unexpected Messages Through Policy Research

Policy researchers sometimes have to deliver messages that clients or

stakeholders do not want to hear. This case study summarizes an evalu­

ation of a local program in which the client had a major investment, as

well as high expectations of a positive evaluation outcome.* In this cir­

cumstance, getting the client to listen to and act on findings of program

deficiencies was a real challenge. The case also demonstrates the impor­

tance of integrating the findings of process evaluation and outcome

evaluation in policy research. Process findings concerning implementa­

tion problems provided a clear explanation for why outcomes had not

been as strong as expected, allowing the program director to maintain

her faith in the mentoring strategy that lay at the base of the program.