Evaluation Summit

How Are We Doing? 
Measuring Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Effectiveness

MACRO and the Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University collaborated in planning a conference specifically on the issue of evaluating Marylandís conflict resolution programs.  The Evaluation Summit brought together four working groups composed primarily of representatives from Maryland government agencies, courts, schools and community mediation programs.  National and international ADR evaluation experts were invited to work with the four groups of Maryland ADR program managers.  The overall task of the summit was  to map out a year long process to plan and design a series of context specific practical and effective evaluation tools and systems for Maryland ADR programs.

The Summit was held in Ocean City from November 7-9, 2001 with 74 participants mostly from Maryland but quite a few with ADR evaluation expertise from other state programs, community mediation centers and universities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Illinois, California, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and Australia. Evaluation experts from Canada, New Mexico, Florida, Oregon and Michigan who could not attend were kind enough to send materials, describing their evaluation protocols and research results.

The four groups worked for a day and a half with professional facilitators Dan Dozier, Bruce Emory, Juliette Falkner, and Peter Swanson to produce detailed outlines and guides for developing ADR evaluation programs  in courts, community mediation centers, government agencies and schools.

As a direct result of the Evaluation Summit, MACRO has initiated two ground breaking statewide projects.  In the courts evaluation project, court personnel from across the state have come together to collaboratively design and implement a uniform system of evaluation for Marylandís court ADR programs.  Evaluation experts who attended the Summit will continue to assist in this effort.  It is already attracting national attention  because no other state has attempted a project of this kind.  See the Research page for descriptions of some of the court research projects being conducted.  The second project involves using the same collaborative process and assistance from outside experts to design and implement a system of evaluation for Marylandís thirteen community mediation centers.  Also see the Research page for two of the mediation research projects being conducted in this area.

The big questions that continue to drive this agenda into late 2004 include: What do we want our program to achieve?  How can we measure our achievements? How can we capture the benefits and costs of our program?  How can we determine what we need to do to improve our processes, delivery systems and  user access?  With answers to questions like these, ADR program directors will be able to make smart choices for the future.


To view the agenda for the Evaluation Summit, click here (.PDF). If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader,  click here to get it now.

Work Books and Notes

Work books provide members of the four groups (courts, schools, government and community) a means to assist them in focusing their efforts on the present state of programs and how they might develop in the future.  The work books contain specific information/guidance for each group and the original notes generated by these groups are attached.  These documents help outline steps toward the evaluation of various programs in each of the four sectors and the ongoing work from this endeavor can be found in many of the recent MACRO grant projects.

1)  Community Work Book  ~  Community Notes

2)  Court Work Book  ~  Court Notes

3)  Schools Work Book  ~  Schools Notes

4)  Government Work Book  ~  Government Notes

Click to view. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to get it now.

Example Agenda/Advice  

Each participant was given an example agenda/advice document so as to provide MACRO with concrete ideas on next steps and possible one to two year projects that move the process along.  Most groups provided both  a group agenda, based on general consensus, along with personal agenda/advice.

To view a sample agenda, please click here (.PDF). If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to get  it now.

  © Polkinghorn and La Chance, 2007