Page Revision: 6/3/2011 1:25:36 PM
What is Evaluation?
Program evaluation is a continual and systematic process of assessing the value or potential value of Extension programs to guide decision-making for the program’s future.
When we evaluate...
We examine the assumptions upon which an existing or proposed program is based.
We study the goals and objectives of the program.
We collect information about a program’s inputs and outcomes.
We compare it to some pre-set standards.
We make a value judgment about the program.
We report findings in a manner that facilitates their use.
Demands on Extension for program efficiency, program effectiveness and for public accountability are increasing. Evaluation can help meet these demands in various ways.
To assess needs.
To set priorities.
To direct allocation of resources.
To guide policy.
Analysis of program effectiveness or quality
To determine achievement of project objectives.
To identify strengths and weaknesses of a program.
To determine if the needs of beneficiaries are being met. To determine the cost-effectiveness of a program.
To assess causes of success or failure.
To improve program management and effectiveness.
To identify and facilitate needed change.
To continue expand or terminate a program.
To funding sources.
To the general public.
Program impact assessment
To discover a program’s impact on individuals and/or communities.
To gain support from policy makers and advisory councils.
To direct attention to needs of particular stakeholder groups.
When to Evaluate
There are several basic questions to ask when deciding whether to carry out an evaluation. If the answers to these questions are "No", this may not be the time for an evaluation.
Is the program important or significant enough to warrant evaluation?
Is there a legal requirement to carry out an evaluation?
Will the results of the evaluation influence decision-making about the program?
Will the evaluation answer questions posed by your stakeholders or those interested in the evaluation?
Are sufficient funds available to carry out the evaluation?
Is there enough time to complete the evaluation?
Solve Problems (What are some low cost training options available to me?)
Stay Current What can I learn that will help me refresh my knowledge base and add value?)
Create Opportunities (What can be done to create low cost learning experiences?)