SEA Webinar: Logic Models and Theories of Change: Developing and Using Tools for Effective Public Programs



  •         Alex Medler, Senior Director, National Charter Schools Resource Center
  •         Adam Emerson, Charter Schools Director, Florida Department of Education

This webinar is the first of a two-part series on Logic Models and Theories of Action. This first webinar addressed technical issues in the design and application of these tools.  The second webinar will provide an opportunity for SEA staff to talk with their peers about the lessons learned in the application of these tools to their work.

Description: Many modern sources of funding, including the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Charter School Program (CSP), have required applicants to develop and submit a Logic Model and a Theory of Action as part of the grant applications. Once created, these tools might be ignored; if well designed, they can facilitate the successful administration, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of complex programs. 

These tools present concise, visual representations of the thinking behind a proposal and the work required to execute it. Logic Models break down the connections between new resources and the long-term impacts of a program by articulating inputs, activities, outputs, and the outcomes.  A Theory of Action is a related tool that allows people to consider the connections between such elements and helps them articulate their understanding of the effects of their activities. A Theory of Action allows the users to work back from the major goals of an initiative or program by thinking strategically about their program elements and their impacts on goals.

Alex Medler, from the NCSRC, presented background on these tools and their use. Adam Emerson, from the Florida Department of Education, briefly presented examples from Florida.  Alex and Adam then engaged in a Q&A session in a “fish bowl” format. In closing, participants had an opportunity to discuss these issues with the presenters and their peers in a Q&A session.

The second webinar will continue the discussion in a round-table format and is expected to cover issues such as:

  • Lessons learned in the development of these tools;
  • How to streamline the use of these tools to make them more meaningful to later work
  • Exploring the underlying assumptions in the logic model and theory of change and discussing what peers in other states have learned about the validity of their assumptions regarding work in the charter school sector.