How to Conduct A Program Evaluation
There are many names and methods for doing a program evaluation. No matter what tool is used, the purpose would still be to evaluate the effectiveness of some program/intervention on students (or staff, or parents/families, or community) to determine if it were successful or not.
Consider including students, staff, parents/family, and community members as members of the evaluation team. They can provide key insights into the best ways to collect the data, and they can also provide powerful voice into the data analysis process.
Students can be powerful members of the research team. The Eskolta model for including student voice in research is a helpful tool for school leaders. The basic components of a program evaluation are displayed in the model below:
- Start by reviewing data to determine the need for a program or intervention. Data could include both qualitative and quantitative data such as previous student achievement results, survey results, or current attendance rates. This will serve as the baseline data or input data which the outcomes will be compared with.
- Identify objectives, or goals, for the work that is tied back to the data. The objective should explain WHY the program or intervention is being implemented
- Prepare a written plan that explains the methods for the evaluation. Here is a Program Evaluation Planning Worksheet that can be used or modified to manage the various components of your evaluation.
- Collect data including 1) process data and 2) interim results
- Collect outcome data
- Organize the data (baseline, process, interim results, and outcome) in spreadsheets or databases
- Prepare summary charts, tables, and graphs
- Analyze the data and prepare a report as a written report, slide show presentation, or in some other format that can be used to share the results with your community.
Program evaluations take time to gather, analyze, and report on the data. Consider backward mapping to key times in the calendar year so the evaluation results could be used to make important decisions. Use the annual calendars shared in this module as guides for determining when program evaluation results can have the greatest impact.