What is program evaluation?
Program evaluation is a process used by organizations that are interested in learning more about how efficient and effective their programs are. When a program is evaluated, data and information is collected by the evaluation team (internal or external to the organization) to provide insights on what is working well and what might be improved upon to achieve the desired outputs and outcomes set forth in the program logic model.
Who needs program evaluation?
Program evaluation helps organizations better understand where their key strengths and opportunities for improvement are in relation to the achievement of their key performance indicators. If you find yourself asking either, or both, of the following questions, seeking assistance from an expert in evaluation is a good idea:
- Is your program operating at desired efficiency and effectiveness levels?
- What metrics do you have in place to prove it to your stakeholders?
Here are several key factors that may indicate an evaluation of your program should be considered.
- External funders are involved. Stakeholders of a project or program are generally interested in how well the program is operating, and if it is meeting the goals/outcomes that have been set forth by a directive or specific strategy. Sometimes, funders require evaluation as part of a funding agreement. In other cases, it is an important supplement to program management that should be considered.
- Program length. The program is expected to span multiple years. Consider how a dedicated evaluation component can benefit your program through a longitudinal data study to identify trends and growth areas, as well as leveraging and sharing best practices with peers.
- Re-assessment of Program Viability. The program is under review for not meeting program objectives. The program needs to be evaluated to determine opportunities/barriers to achieving goals.
How can we help?
We have an experienced staff of evaluation and research professionals with over 75 years of combined experience in industries such as higher education, government, non-profit and manufacturing. Drop me a line to learn more about our services and how we can partner with your program to help tell your story.
Dominick Stephenson is the Assistant Director, Research Development and Evaluation for North Carolina State University Industry Expansion Solutions. Dominick is responsible for managing evaluation functions throughout the project including client engagement, evaluation design, data collection, instrument design and report writing. His current work focuses on workforce development, community college and STEM programs and crosses over local, state and federal agencies. Dominick is a graduate of East Carolina University with an M.A.Ed. in Adult Education and a B.S.B.A. in Management Information Systems.