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ESSENTIALS OF PROGRAM EVALUATION CREATED BY: ESMERALDA VALAGUE Presented by: Grant Writers’ Network of Greater Houston Sell Your Program! Every program believes they are doing something special, but it’s not always easy to define or quantify the impact they are making. Funders and outside parties want you to prove that their investment is producing a tangible return. Program evaluation helps you bridge the gap between what you know about your program’s success and what others could easily measure. Evaluation is important… Don’t Overlook It! Good programs balance mission activities with effective data collection. Make the data collection part of your intake procedures by administering pre-tests and capturing demographic data. Try to find as many means of staying in contact with clients as possible (email, address, permanent address, phone, cell phone, etc.) In case you need to capture data over time. Offer incentives to encourage client participation in optional assessments. Incorporate some assessments into your program so the client comes to expect it as part of their participation. Types of Evaluations Surveys Pre and Post Tests Standardized Tests Program-Specific Outside evaluation Impact Studies Surveys Can be one of the easiest and least expensive methods of program evaluation. Can be done online (survey monkey, etc.) Can be mailed, distributed at the center, or telephonic. Entails collecting the client’s information and/or attitudes towards the program. Generates Statistics: e.g. 85% of the clients surveyed said they felt more confident after undergoing the program, 90% of our clients would recommend our program to other single mothers, etc. Pre and Post Test Tracks the change in knowledge or attitudes before and after the client participates in the program. Very easy to implement. Can be internal or standardized. Internal pre and post-tests are not as credible and external tests. Standardized Tests Examples include: ACT Work-Keys, Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), Pre-GED. Can be expensive and require staff training. Utilizes outside review and or methodology. Usually very credible with funders and collaborators. Program Specific For a job-placement program, success can be defined as the number of clients who are working in jobs. For a substance abuse program, success can be defined in number of persons who go a specific period of time without abusing a substance. For educational programs success is measured in attendance (number of persons educated) as well as the educational milestones achieved. Outside collaborators might contribute i.e. police departments reporting on recidivism, etc. Outside Evaluations An objective third-party utilizes a wide-range of evaluation tools (including those that were mentioned here) to analyze the program’s effectiveness. Sometimes evaluates internal administrative effectiveness and the training and abilities of the staff. Very credible with funders and collaborators. Required by some government grants. One of the more expensive evaluation options. Impact Studies Conducted by specialty research firms or universities. Looks at the program’s impact over a long-term (longitudinal study) and can measure the ripple effects that your program may produce. Uses a control group vs. client group. Among the most credible with funders, highly recommended for seekers of national funding. Can cost into the millions of dollars. Resources The CDC composed a document titled An Evaluation Framework for Community Health Programs in June of 2000. http://www.cdc.gov/eval/framework.htm A Basic Guide to Program Evaluation through the Free Management Library. http://www.managementhelp.org/evaluatn/fnl_eval.htm American Evaluation Association. http://www.eval.org/ Amazon. A variety of books are available on Evaluation strategies, techniques, etc. Questions?
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