Voices and Viewpoints

TCI Featured Evaluator: Soko S. Starobin

by Soko Starobin / Oct 12, 2015

This post is part of a new blog series called Transformative Change Initiative (TCI) Featured Evaluator, that includes interviews with members of TCI’s Evaluation Collaborative. This community of evaluators has a wealth of knowledge, experience and insights into evaluation of the TAACCCT grants that are being implementation throughout the United States. Want to be profiled or know someone who would make a great feature? Email us at occrl@illinois.edu.

Name: Soko S. Starobin

Current position: Associate Professor, Director of the Office of Community College Research and Policy at Iowa State University

Bio: Soko S. Starobin’s research agenda focuses on gender issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among community college students and Career and Technical Education (CTE) program research and evaluation. She is currently leading outcome evaluations of four TAACCCT funded projects, including the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium and the IHUM (Information Technology, Health, Utility, Manufacturing) Consortium, that are comprised by all 15 community colleges in the state. Additionally, she is conducting TAACCCT outcome evaluations for the Eastern Iowa Community College District and Iowa Western Community College.

Q. What is the design and predominant methods for your TAACCCT evaluation?

A. For outcome and impact evaluation for a consortium that allows me to use a large statewide data, I use quasi-experimental design (Propensity Score Matching technique). For small-size programs, I work with the project leaders to design and recommend appropriate analytical approaches. Selected analyses include, but not limited to: pre- and post- program intervention outcome comparisons, non-parametric statistics, and multivariate prediction modeling.

Q. What stands out as major accomplishments so far?

A. To be able to work with the state agencies: Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Workforce Development to secure the educational and wage data for the consortium outcome and impact analyses. Development of a collaborative partnership with these agencies is the key for our evaluation.

Q. What advice do you have for new TAACCCT evaluators?

A. Work with the TAACCCT program leaders to develop our outcome evaluation plan. The suggestions and recommendations from DOL may or may not work depending on the circumstances, size of the program, and other external factors. Be flexible.

Q. What questions do you have for others about TAACCCT evaluation?

A. To what extent do you invest your time for dissemination of the results? For instance, there are some visual presentation programs available, but, in what format do you use for disseminations (narrative, simple tables and figures, or interactive visual effects on the website or dashboard?)

Q. And, do you have tools, reports or other products you are willing to share?  If so please share and describe them. 

A. As soon as they are available, I would love to share with the TCI and other evaluators.

You can reach Soko at starobin@iastate.edu and learn more at Office of Community College Research and Policy at Iowa State University.

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