Expertise

Evaluation

Fourth grade students
PHOTO: BILLIE ANN BLALOCK

Students at Drayton Hall Elementary school are using iPads for a variety of learning activities. Their school is participating in the One-to One Learning Initiative that Metis evaluated in Charleston County, South Carolina.

Metis Associates designs and conducts research studies and evaluation projects for government agencies, foundations, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations. We provide these services in a wide range of settings and programmatic areas, from child welfare to education to workforce development, and we have deep experience evaluating site-based Collective Impact initiatives. Metis carefully tailors its evaluations to the specific client, the questions at hand, and budget considerations. Accommodating the perspectives of various constituencies and helping our clients achieve consensus around technically and socially appropriate evaluation designs are among our strengths. 

Metis believes in the power of a participatory approach to research and evaluation, involving clients throughout the life of a project. Often, this process begins with helping clients articulate their theories of change, craft research questions, and determine the evaluation methods that will best answer these questions. Our teams are made up of highly skilled evaluators, statisticians, educators, former local and state administrators, sociologists, research psychologists, anthropologists, and data specialists who work closely with our clients to understand their needs.

Our research staff possess strong qualitative research skills and highly sophisticated statistical and quantitative-analysis capabilities. In addition, Metis’s information technology team has extensive experience developing large databases, tracking cohorts of program participants longitudinally, and monitoring trends as the quantity and breadth of data grow over time.

Over the past five years, Metis has established a national reputation for creating and implementing rigorous evaluation plans, including those using experimental or quasi-experimental designs. Metis senior researcher Jing Zhu, PhD—one of only 300 evaluators nationwide to be certified as a reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences—spearheads much of this work at Metis. The WWC has certified Metis as Zhu’s organizational affiliate.

Often Metis’s clients seek our evaluation services in tandem with strategic planning and policy analysis to help assess the effectiveness of their programs in light of current trends and regulations. Our team uses impact analysis, assets and needs assessment, and other methods to examine the success of current policies and programs, identify gaps, and analyze the potential impact of proposed changes. Metis also helps agencies transition to a self-evaluation structure, reflecting growing demand on the part of many funders for ongoing, internal progress tracking.