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 2: Interpret the Data

Guideline: When interpreting collected data do so within the context of the evaluation questions. Depending on the scope, complexity of the data analysis and available in-house expertise it may be necessary to acquire external statistical assistance to aid with the interpretation. External assistance may be particularly useful if the program being evaluated stirs emotions among the stakeholders.

Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice

This American Statistical Association document encourages ethical and effective statistical work.

Representation of Data

Edward Tufte, author of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information suggests eight practices to consider to assure the accurate representation of visual data.

Statistics Every Writer Should Know

This resource describes in "plain English, some basic concepts in statistics that every writer should know."

Justify Conclusions

This program evaluation guidance from the Centers for Disease Control suggests five elements to follow when justifying conclusions based on the evidence provided. Though intended for the public health environment the content may be of interest to educators.

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