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The purpose of program evaluation is two-fold, to determine if the theory and assumptions
our programs are based on are producing the results we expect, and to use the data
collected to improve our programs for our participants and other stakeholders. Program
evaluation data can and should inform long-term program design, delivery strategies
Every comprehensive program starts with a plan.
A comprehensive program plan should include an evaluation strategy and steps for collection
of data during the delivery of the program, as well as at completion.
Process evaluation measures the success how the program was actually delivered. Was
the program implemented as planned? How many classes, field-days, field trials (i.e.
methods) were used? Who were the actual participants? Did the program reach the intended
audience? What was the cost for different delivery methods? What was the return on
the financial investment?
Outcome or Impact evaluation seeks to measure any changes in program participants
as a result of participation in a program. Impact evaluation usually includes a continuum
of outcomes including:
The long-term outcomes should be based on what the ultimate value of the program is
to actual program participants, the general public and/or other key stakeholders who
provide funding for the program.
The Nuts and Bolts of Evaluation Planning
Planning a Program Evaluation