Measuring Effectiveness

Each SAGE high school is asked to complete activities during the year that meet the ten judging criteria. The main criteria include (1) effectiveness in planning and operating a at least one for-profit business, (2) starting and completing at least one social enterprise, and (3) integrating civic engagement, environmental stewardship and global economics into their problem-based learning activities.

The effectiveness of each team is determined by an independent judging panel of business leaders and civic leaders. SAGE encourages these leaders to serve on high school teams’ business advisory boards, but these leaders can also participate by serving as judges (note: in order to assure objectivity, SAGE asks each judge to complete a judge’s oath).

After the competition is over, SAGE collects the annual reports and multimedia presentations, and accompanying media coverage and creates a portfolio for each team. This portfolio allows us to summarize the quantity and quality of ventures created, operated and sustained during the year. Other descriptive statistics are also collected, summarized and analyzed. At the end of the year, each SAGE student also is asked to complete a SAGE Student Questionnaire, and each high school teacher is asked to complete a SAGE Team Data Sheet. We recognize the limitations inherent in a methodology that relies on surveys and authentic assessment. Starting in 2007, we will ask SAGE alumni to complete a questionnaire at the end of their fifth and tenth years of high school graduation (this is similar to the Ashoka Foundation’s methodology, whereby they survey Ashoka Fellows five and ten years from their appointment date). We will query SAGE alumni about how their current activities map on to their original career goals, whether or not the ideas they pursued in SAGE have been continued in their lives, and what impact, if any, they have had on their local communities. Though the “measures” of effectiveness are not as precise as financial measures, they are long-term in nature and focus on impact in the field. Descriptive statistics include:

1. Number of new or improved business ventures created by high school students
2. Number of new social ventures created by high school
3. Number of annual written reports summarizing each team's activities
4. Number of verbal presentations made at state and national SAGE competitions
5. Number of business and community leaders directly involved as SAGE BAB members
6. Number of business and community leaders directly involved on a “SAGE Jury” of panelists who evaluate the written reports and multimedia presentations (this form of assessment leads to benchmarking and continuous improvement among all SAGE teams)
7. Number of university mentors (usually 2 per SAGE high school) who assist each SAGE team in identifying, completing and reporting its projects
8. Number of gross impressions made by media obtained for USA SAGE, including newspaper, radio, television and Internet.

Is SAGE a pattern-changing idea? We think so. For a social enterprise like SAGE to have an impact at the national and international levels, it must pass the “knockout test.” This is the test that Ashoka Foundation founder, Mr. Bill Drayton, says that a prospective Ashoka Fellow must pass in order to become a fellow.