The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

Task 1: Evaluation Concepts

Guideline: Understanding basic evaluation concepts is an important pre-requisite to planning and implementing a project level evaluation. Having such knowledge enables the project leader to participate fully in the evaluation process whether an outside evaluator is hired or in-house staff members and resources are utilized.

Principles of Scientific Inquiry

This document provides a summary of the basic principles of scientific inquiry laying the groundwork for its application in education. These principles offer a framework for educators to use in assessing education research.

Program Evaluation Standards

This link is to program evaluation standards published by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation.

Evaluation Tips

This document contains tips for evaluators from designing the evaluation to reporting findings.

The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation

This guide reviews the basic elements of the evaluation process. Though written to fulfill program goals of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, it may be useful as a basic primer on evaluation.

What Works Clearinghouse

As noted at its website, "the What Works Clearinghouse, established by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, provides educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education."

Element 1: Plan the Evaluation

Purpose: Planning how to conduct a program evaluation is the essessential the first step. The preparatory thinking involves understanding the program being evaluated, organizing an evaluation team, and determining how to conduct the evaluation. Element 1 outlines the pre-planning tasks.

Activity 1: Understand Evaluation

Activity 2: Organize Evaluation Team

Activity 3: Establish Evaluation Focus

Element 2: Implement the Evaluation

Purpose: Conducting the evaluation involves designing data collection so the analysis and interpretation will answer the questions the evaluation sets out to resolve. When developing and implementing the evaluation design be flexible to collect and analyze data from many perspectives. The collected data should be attentive to the evaluation questions. Element 2 outlines the tasks associated with implementing the evaluation.

Activity 1: Data Collection

Activity 2: Understanding the Data

Activity 3: Report the Results

Element 3: Use the Results

Purpose: The evaluation's findings and recommendation have limited value unless they are shared with the stakeholders and utilized to improve the evaluated program. Using the results to improve the evaluated program and communicating with constituencies are activities that occur in parallel. Element 3 outlines the tasks associated with using the results.

Activity 1: Communicate with Constituencies

Activity 2: Use Results to Improve