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Evaluation Reports

Longitudinal Study

March 2003

TO: Members, Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

FROM: Mary Jo Nichols, Grants Administrator

RE: Partners in Policymaking® Longitudinal Study

The most recent longitudinal study of Minnesota Partners in Policymaking graduates was completed by Tom Zirpoli, Ph.D. and submitted February 25, 2003. This study was conducted for Year XI through Year XIV (Class 14 through Class 18) for a total of five classes.

We made several revisions to the survey form before this study was done to make the form easier to complete and increase the response rate. Based on several recommendations, the length of the survey was reduced, the language was simplified, and the questions better focused. The overall response rate was 47% (66/141); our goal was 45%. This compares with a 32% response rate for the longitudinal study completed in March 2002.

A copy of the complete study is available upon request.

Following is a summary of the results:

IPSII Results Year/Class

  XI/14 XI/15 XII/16 XIII/17 XIV/18
Response rate 55% 34% 50% 48% 45%
Independence 94% 75% 100% 100% 100%
Productivity 94% 50% 83% 75% 86%
Self Determination 100% 75% 100% 100% 100%
Integration/Inclusion 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Longitudinal Study


Results Year/Class

XI/14 XI/15 XII/16 XIII/17 XIV/18
Can get appropriate services* 100% 100% 83% 100% 100%
Skills help me to get appropriate services** 100% 75% 83% 100% 100%
Current leadership skills* 100% 100% 83% 100% 100%


** most/some of the time

Partners graduates identified significant life changes in the areas of housing, education, employment, family support, case management, technology, health care, and friendships that they attribute to their Partners experience. Highlights from these areas are as follows:

  • Housing: Now have own home or helped family member acquire own home (2), moved into a larger apartment.
  • Education: Educational opportunities, one son going to college, son/daughter included in a regular classroom (2), attending graduate school.
  • Employment: Now have a job; employment opportunities starting; changed employment; have more work hours; volunteering at a private elementary school.
  • Family Support: Receiving waiver services; receiving other family support services (2).
  • Case management: Receiving case management services.
  • Technology: Child has a communication device; daughter has an augmentative communication device that is supported by her school.
  • Health Care: Improved medical management of disability.
  • Friendships: Have new friendships (2).

Partners graduates identified skills learned during the Partners program that they still use today. This is an indicator of the long term value of the program:

  • Outreach/networking (8)
  • Legislative advocacy (6)
  • Assertiveness (4)
  • General leadership skills (3)
  • Interpersonal
  • Researching
  • Resourcefulness

Other comments included:

  • I know my daughter best and continue to pursue changes for her until they are accomplished.
  • I have greater confidence and improved advocacy skills.
  • I have become more of a partner rather than an outsider at agency/organization meetings.
  • I've become a very good advocate and taught my sons how to be self advocates.
  • The school district no longer directs my daughter's education; I participate and make changes.
  • Partners gave me the confidence and knowledge about assistive technology to get a communication device for my child.
  • We are changed – empowered.
  • My confidence developed as a result of attending Partners.

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