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Converting Data to Information

Apr 20 2011

The Utility and Value of a Statistical Approach to Converting Program Data to Useful Information. This was the title of a workshop presented by Dr. Don Cibula of Apter & O’Connor Associates at the CNY Community Foundation this spring. The Community Foundation invited Apter & O’Connor to share their evaluation expertise with the eight local agencies that are recipients of the Performance Management Grant funding. These funds are intended to help organizations assess their effectiveness through better internal data collection and measurement. A few of Dr. Cibula’s key points were:
• Graphic displays are an effective means of converting data to information and conveying that information.
• Probabilities associated with test statistics for samples are the basis for deciding whether true differences or relationships exist in the whole population.
• Most test statistics can be productively considered to be a fraction or ratio of “signal to noise”. Large ratios for a sample generally indicate there’s a real “signal” in the population.
• A statistical approach to understanding program data can provide strong support for reaching program goals and objectives.

Apter & O’Connor is working with one of the grantees, Jowonio School more intensively to assist in the articulation of their model of inclusive programming and develop their organization capacity for systematic tracking of the school’s impact on the children, families, staff and community.