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CMW Artistic Director Sebastian Ruth offered WolfBrown an unusual challenge: to discover how "becoming a member of the CMW community affects students’ inner lives: their conceptions of themselves, their sense of themselves as effective, their willingness to try new things, or to be expressive.”

Dennie Wolf took Sebastian’s challenge, and developed a set of tools to measure student progress in three areas: Musicianship, Agency, and Participation in a Wider World.

From there, WolfBrown engaged in strategic meetings with CMW staff, Board, and families to design an evaluation in which students, families, and community members shared their opinions, and in the process learned more about the CMW, and each other.

The evaluation timeline was as follows:

Spring 2008 Phase III students adapt and develop tools to examine three areas of student outcome
Fall 2008-Spring 2009 Teaching staff conduct lesson-based interviews with students
Fall 2008 "Data Festivals" CMW families participate in pizza dinners where they create maps and diaries of their creative and musical worlds
January 2009 Members of the CMW evaluation advisory team meet with evaluators of similar intensive art organizations across the country to discuss and compare strategies
Spring 2009 Board members conduct interviews with families; final round of data collected; evaluators attend multiple afternoon lessons, rehearsals, performances
August 2009 Evaluators share a sub-set of findings at CMW Board retreat
November 2009 Evaluation draft is shared with Advisory Team, CMW faculty, and Board
December 2009 Final evaluation document is delivered to CMW and Rhode Island Foundation
January 2010 Ongoing translation of evaluation process and findings into a set of tools and strategies to further students' progress towards the three outcomes of CMW's program

Click here to listen to CMW Board President Liz Hollander discuss the evaluation process