A logic model is a tool often used by funders, program managers, and evaluators to describe how a strategy or theory of change will effectively solve a problem. Creating a logic model is typically a complex process involving conversations among critical stakeholders who seek to identify the who, what, when, and why of a program or policy, including expected impacts. To develop a logic model, a team maps out the specific resources and actions needed for a program or policy’s successful implementation, along with the short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes desired. In this way, a logic model not only describes how a program or policy will work, but also can serve as a guide during implementation and as a tool for monitoring and evaluating progress.
From left: Haidee Williams, REL Southwest liaison for the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance, and Adriana Lopez and Giovanni Ferrigno, both of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation, begin mapping out the key components of a logic model in preparation for the second workshop in South Texas.
The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest developed a logic model workshop series at the request of its Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance. This alliance seeks to improve Hispanic students' representation and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and careers. In Texas, where Hispanic students compose the majority of the K–12 public school population (51 percent overall and more than 95 percent in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2011), the state has launched a number of initiatives to improve Hispanic STEM outcomes. The alliance requested the workshop series to help support its members and other state, district, and technical staff working on these initiatives and related efforts.
Developing and facilitating the logic model workshop series
A REL Southwest team worked closely with the Texas Hispanic STEM alliance members to develop the two workshops in the logic model series. The first workshop introduced participants to the general purposes and concepts of a logic model, including providing concrete examples of logic model components. Facilitators then led participants through the process of developing a logic model for an actual program of theirs focused on improving STEM outcomes for Hispanic students. Between the first and second workshop, the facilitators continued working with participants on developing their logic models, providing assistance through email, phone calls, and onsite support.
The second workshop focused on using logic models as a tool to measure how program components and other factors may support or hinder a program from achieving its outcomes. As a first step in this process, participants learned how to use their logic models to generate hypotheses and develop and frame answerable research questions by which to measure outcomes.
The logic model workshop was instrumental in helping us frame our thinking and efficiently conceptualize our program. The process provided us with guidance in identifying the key aspects of our program and effectively constructing its eventual outcomes.
Mary Alice Reyes, Ed.D., Executive Director, Texas Graduate Center,
Texas Valley Communities Foundation
Implications of the workshop series for policy and practice
Members of the Texas Hispanic STEM Research Alliance are already using their new skills to develop logic models for state initiatives and regional programs. For example, members developed logic models to examine and align resources for supporting T-STEM campuses, part of the state’s T-STEM Initiative, and to establish evaluation measures for the Parent Academy for Success of Schools (PASOS), a program of the Texas Valley Communities Foundation. In fact, alliance members were so pleased with the success of the workshop series that they requested it be conducted again for other staff in their organizations, such as program officers and researchers.
Seeing the value of the technical assistance, REL Southwest held logic model workshops with its two other alliances then based primarily in Texas—the Educator Effectiveness and the English Learners Research Alliances. During the workshops, participants engaged in discussions about the short- and long-term goals of their programs or systems and how best to use logic models to support those goals.
Building the skills to develop and use logic models has helped state education leaders and policymakers better plan, implement, and evaluate their programs and policies—from better understanding how to develop practices and policies that support a program or initiative to collecting evidence to measure progress and scale up future implementation.
Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest at SEDL • 4700 Mueller Blvd. • Austin, TX 78723 • 800-476-6861 • firstname.lastname@example.org