Program evaluation can be viewed as the comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness and efficacy of the program. Evaluation efforts are defined through the strategic planning efforts of the program stakeholders and are guided by the question: What are we trying to accomplish? A comprehensive program evaluation can address the key issues of program sustainability, coordination, consistency, and the effectiveness of monitoring and reporting systems.
An effective program evaluation also can inform the design of future programming efforts. More formal evaluation studies can examine the degree to which programming efforts produced the expected outcomes of the program. Some evaluation studies seek to understand the distribution of program benefits among and between groups of stakeholders.
Preliminary evaluation questions addressing each of the three above mentioned evaluation formats are provided below.
Process evaluation questions focus on the degree to which the program is being delivered as intended. Sample process evaluation questions include: What are the components of the program model? To what degree is the program being implemented with fidelity to the program model?
Outcome evaluation questions focus on the degree to which the outcomes of the program and courses are being met. Sample outcomes evaluation questions include: Are the overall objectives being met? Are course learning objectives being met? Are participants learning the basic principles and ideals of of the program? What is the relationship between course learning assessment results to overall program outcomes?
Impact evaluation questions focus on the degree of personal change noted by the participants. Areas of interest for this evaluation include participant insight and appreciation gained. Other areas of interest for this evaluation include the preparation and intention to utilize knowledge gained during the program. Sample program impact evaluation questions include: What outcomes result when the program is presented as delivered? What individual changes are brought about by participation in the program?
Once the evaluation format and questions have been established, the implementation of the evaluation design will focus on data gathering, data analysis and reporting.