Measuring Impact

With all the time and effort invested in a walking school bus program, volunteers and other supporters want to be sure the program is having its desired effect. Simple evaluation methods can be used to track participation and help identify improvements to enable more children to participate:

Woodsdale Elementary School, Wheeling, WV

  1. Before starting the program, count the numbers of children who arrive at school by walking, bicycling, private vehicle or bus. Conducting a survey as suggested in Step 1 (Determine the Amount of Support and Interest) is one way to gather this information. After the program has been in place for a school term, do a re-count. For more accurate information, re-count again after one full year so that the numbers are not impacted by differences in the weather. For example, if the first count takes place in late fall and it’s rainy and cold and the re-count takes place in the spring when it’s warm and sunny, it is not possible to know whether any difference is because of improved weather or the walking school bus.
  2. Asking walkers, volunteers, families and school officials what they like and don’t like about the walking school bus can provide insight for improvements and ways to reach more families. For examples, see Resources: Evaluation tools. Report results to partners and school officials and identify ways in which any challenges will be addressed.