Educational Broadcasing Authority
Issue 1: The Educational Broadcasting Authority is not Adequately Assessing the Utilization of its Televised Educational Programming.
The EBA is charged with providing educational programs as an enhancement to primary, secondary and adult education. In order to accomplish this task, the EBA provides many different types of programming and focuses some programs towards specific age groups. In addition, the EBA airs a series called "Ready to Learn" which focuses on educating preschool children prior to kindergarten. The EBA does not adequately assess the usage of its programs within the preschool, primary or secondary classrooms to determine strengths and weaknesses, and to determine where its stands against commercial programs. A scientific statewide survey was conducted in 1993 that determined the extent of usage and how EBA programs compared to commercial programs. However, since that time the agency has relied on a voluntary survey which is not representative of the state and therefore has limited value. Furthermore, some of the information for 1997 and 1998 have not been compiled to provide information regarding the use of programs and any needed programming changes. Essentially, the EBA does not know if commercial programs are being used more often in classrooms than EBA programs, if this is occurring in any particular grade levels and what weaknesses may exist in EBA programming.
The agency recognizes the need for better management information and has plans to rectify the situation. A request for proposal is currently being written for educational consultants that will assist the EBA in assessing the utilization of ITV programming. To accomplish the agency's mandate, useful utilization measures are important, in light of competing educational programs from commercial programs. The agency must know if the funding it expends towards educational programming is being utilized by the intended audience or if it should be redirected towards other more utilized areas of the agencies endeavors.
The EBA should consider conducting a statewide survey annually or every two years to determine the utilization of its educational programming. Data should be timely compiled and provided by grade.
Additional methods of utilization assessment should be explored such as internet surveys or electronic methods through digital television to enhance the management information available to the EBA.