In every grant application, the writer must state the goals, identify the objectives, and explain the evaluation component. While all parts of a grant proposal are important, these three components are key. Understand how the goals are interrelated to the corresponding objectives and evaluation.
The grant reviewers are looking for a general statement about the intended outcomes of the project. When writing goal(s), use action words (e.g., improve, increase, develop, produce, deliver) that leave the reviewers with no doubt as to what is expected to be achieved. Check to ensure that the goal statement also links to the needs statement for the project.
Example: Increase math proficiency and problem solving for all fourth-grade students.
Provide objectives that reflect the steps to accomplish the identified goal. The objectives always contribute to the goal’s success. Each objective should reflect actions that are detailed, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific.
The number of objectives depend on the steps needed to achieve the specified goal. A good rule of thumb is two or three objectives. Grant reviewers are more concerned with the quality of how the success of the objective will be measured than with the number of objectives.
Example: 1.1. During a seven-month period, the fourth-grade math teachers will deliver 90 minutes of daily instruction to 65 fourth-grade students using ThinkUp! Math to result in a 15% increase in grade-level student scores and positive increases in individual scores on the state mathematics assessment.
Example: 1.2 During a seven-month period, all three fourth-grade math teachers will receive implementation training on ThinkUp! Math and participate in coaching sessions about practices that improve the delivery of mathematics instruction.
Evaluation is the measure of the success for a grant proposal. Define what the success of the project will look like before writing the evaluation. The evaluation component provides critical feedback that you need to determine the effectiveness of the grant. Grant requirements mandate describing the evaluation method to be used. A clear connection to the project’s goal, the objectives, and implementation methods should be obvious.
In grant proposals, include such specifics as who is responsible for each implementation task, what is the targeted time frame for each step of implementation, how the project will be evaluated, and how the results will be reported. Funding agencies usually require a follow up with an explanation if the project performed as expected. In other words, was the goal and the objectives met? Know (without guesswork) what worked and what did not, in order to know how to improve or replicate the project.
Many forms of evaluation are applicable. Use an attendance log of individuals who participated in the training of the program. Surveys might be given to invite a reporting of changed feelings or actions because of the project. Observations by school leaders can document evidence indicators of strategies used during instruction and compare to a checklist that denotes desirable and proven mathematical instructional practices. Assessments may be administered to measure changes (especially applicable in increased academic achievement).
Example: 1.1 By the end of year one, all 65 fourth-grade students will show increases in performance on the state assessment for mathematics and the grade level as a whole will show a 15% increase as measured by the state mathematics assessment. (Evaluation = state assessment scores)
Example: 1.2 By the end of year one, all three fourth-grade math teachers will demonstrate increased mathematical knowledge of content and instructional strategies as evidenced through the improved delivery of math instruction, through active engagement of students in varied small group arrangements, and through documented walk-throughs and follow-up conversations with the mathematics instructional coach and campus leadership. (Evaluation = observations of proven strategies, documented walk-throughs, and instructional follow-up conversations)
Keep the focus steady: establish a clear goal, decide how to achieve the goal and provide a definitive evaluation.
Co-Authored by Sandra Love, Ed.D. and Marian Rainwater
Educator Resources Managing Editor, Sandra Love, Ed.D., develops practical resources for teachers and principals to help them impact students and build thinking-centered learning environments. A recipient of the National Distinguished Principal Award, Dr. Love spent 37 years in public education both as a teacher and principal, where she gained experience at the elementary, middle school, and higher education levels. She has authored numerous articles and develops educational resources on critical thinking and instructional strategies.
Until her recent retirement from Mentoring Minds, Marian Rainwater led the team of math writers in developing research-based materials that make a positive difference in the lives of teachers and their students. Over the course of a 29-year career in public education, Marian impacted students at the classroom level as a teacher and at the district level as the director of K-12 curriculum and instruction.