Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase is an online resource aiding education professionals in understanding the basics of project evaluation in order to properly assess projects and programs. It is organized around three elements to assist educators with their program evaluation.

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

Task 1: Describe the Program Being Evaluated

Guideline: As noted by the Center for Disease Control's Evaluation Working Group, "program descriptions convey the mission and objectives of the program being evaluated. Descriptions should be sufficiently detailed to ensure understanding of program goals and strategies. The description should discuss the program's capacity to effect change, its stage of development, and how it fits into the larger organization and community. Program descriptions set the frame of reference for all subsequent decisions in an evaluation. The description enables comparisons with similar programs and facilitates attempts to connect program components to their effects. Moreover, stakeholders might have differing ideas regarding program goals and purposes. Evaluations done without agreement on the program definition are likely to be of limited use."

Describe the Program

This program evaluation guidance from the Centers for Disease Control suggests a framework for describing the program being evaluated. A properly defined program sets the tone for an effective evaluation. Though intended for the public health environment the content may be of interest to educators.

Logic Models

When creating any type of plan it is important to closely look at how it will work and how its pieces fit together. Links to resources explaining the logic model concept are offered to assist the project team apply the concept with their project planning.

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