When you apply for grant money, it is imperative that you understand and have measured the problems you wish to address. It is also imperative that you clearly state your goals and how you intend to measure achievement of them. Clearly stated goals and assessment procedures will demonstrate to the granting agency that you have a plan to use their grant money effectively.
Ineffective grant applications include no concrete goals, or tentative goals that are neither clear nor measurable.
[content block] If you were giving grant money to a school with a sixth grade class reading two years below grade level, would you rather read that "every sixth grade student will significantly improve his/her reading level during the school year" or "during the current school year, sixth grade students will on the average improve their reading scores by 12 months in a 6-month period as measured by the Renaissance Learning STAR reading assessment tool"?
The first goal is nebulous. What does "significantly improve" mean? Will you fail if "every" student doesn't show improvement?
The second goal is realistic and measurable. Using proper techniques with a group of students, you can double typical growth. Also, you are looking for average growth. (A large group of students will never show even growth. They start in different places; they grow at different rates.) This goal's clarity and its measurable assessment make it a good goal for a grant application. You may reach the goal or you may not, but both you and the granting agency will know whether or not you did.
The following are additional examples of goals that are clear and measurable. You could easily use any of them as a goal on a grant application:
You might notice that detailed strategies are not included in those goals. You will definitely need detailed strategies, but you must first have concrete goals to work toward before you list the strategies that will take you there.
In the past weeks we have discussed how important it is to know the problems you are having in your school. We have discussed the need to provide statistical information to show the extent of those problems. Once both a problem and the extent of the problem are evident, it is time to establish concrete, measurable goals you wish to achieve. Doing that is vital. It will show the granting agency that you know where you've been, and you also know exactly where you want to go.
Article by Don Peek
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