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The cover photo is taken from one of the book's featured cases from the Open Society Institute's Step by Step program. Currently operating in 30 countries, Step by Step promotes reform of teacher training systems and early education policies in partnership with governmental and nongovernmental organizations. The photo depicts parents who participated in the program at a Roma settlement in Slovakia, working with their preschool-age children at home to prepare them for school. Photo courtesy of Eva Koncoková, Wide Open School Foundation, Slovakia
Robert E. Stake is Director of the Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is one of several educational researchers who created theory and practice for educational program evaluation in the 1960s. His responsive evaluation approach emphasizes the study of classroom experience, personal interaction, and institutional processes and contexts, often in the form of case studies. Among the evaluative studies he has directed are studies in science and arts education; model programs; and conventional teaching, including higher education, special education and, with Bernadine Evans Stake, gender equity. He is a recipient of the Special Career Award in Qualitative Inquiry from the International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry, the Lazarsfeld Award from the American Evaluation Association, and the Presidential Citation from the American Educational Research Association, and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of Valladolid, Spain. For many years, Dr. Stake has been a prominent voice in a transatlantic "invisible college" of like-minded evaluators questioning contexts and conventions for educational evaluation and infusing evaluation with fairness and a valuing of experience.