Discretion, Delegation, and Professionalism: A Study of Outcome Measures in Upward Bound Programs

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In our society, American citizens expect public policies to result in programs that address social problems in ways that are both efficient and effective. In order to judge if these two values are being achieved, public programs are often scrutinized through program monitoring and evaluation. Evaluation of public programs often is a responsibility delegated to local-level managers. The resulting discretion has to be balanced with the need for accountability that is also inherent in public programs. Evaluation is often difficult because outcomes are not readily measurable due to the complexity of the problems faced in the public setting. The Upward ... continued below

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Holt, Amy C. August 2011.

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  • Holt, Amy C.

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In our society, American citizens expect public policies to result in programs that address social problems in ways that are both efficient and effective. In order to judge if these two values are being achieved, public programs are often scrutinized through program monitoring and evaluation. Evaluation of public programs often is a responsibility delegated to local-level managers. The resulting discretion has to be balanced with the need for accountability that is also inherent in public programs. Evaluation is often difficult because outcomes are not readily measurable due to the complexity of the problems faced in the public setting. The Upward Bound program provides an example of this. Upward Bound provides services to students from low-income families and those in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree in order to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions. Upward Bound is implemented and evaluated based upon specifications decided upon at the local level. This discretion granted to local level managers has resulted in wide variations in the way the program is being evaluated. This presents a problem for evaluation and has resulted in inconclusive results as to the success of the program. One way to correct this problem is to try and gain a clear understanding of how the evaluation outcome measures are being chosen for Upward Bound. My study accomplished this task.

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  • August 2011

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  • May 17, 2012, 9:47 p.m.

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  • Dec. 4, 2013, 11:22 a.m.

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Holt, Amy C. Discretion, Delegation, and Professionalism: A Study of Outcome Measures in Upward Bound Programs, dissertation, August 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84220/: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .