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Introduction to Program Evaluation

Introduction to Program Evaluation

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Introduction to Program Evaluation

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  1. Introduction to Program Evaluation Dr. Suzan Ayers Western Michigan University (courtesy of Dr. Mary Schutten)

  2. Evaluation Defined • Systematic investigation of the worth or merit of an object; e.g., a program, project, or instructional material (JCSEE, 1994)

  3. Evaluation Terms • Informal = subjective perceptions • Formal = systematic efforts to define explicit criteria and obtain accurate information • Evaluation Object = whatever is being evaluated

  4. Evaluation Process • Determine standards for judging quality • Collect relevant information • Apply the standards to determine value, quality, utility, effectiveness or significance • Identify recommendations to optimize evaluation object (program)

  5. General Uses of Evaluation • Program improvement • Organizational capacity building • Parent, faculty, staff empowerment • Information for programmatic decisions

  6. Uses of Evaluation in Education • Empower teachers to have more say about budget allocation • Judge the quality of school curricula in specific content areas • Accredit schools that meet standards • Report to an external funding agency on programs it supports

  7. Historical Overview • 2000 BC: formal evaluation by Chinese who gave civil service exams to measure proficiency • Socrates used verbal evaluations in education • 1700’s: “state-istics” were tabulated for mortality, health, and population

  8. 1800’s: Great Britain & US began evaluating educational and social institutions • Early 1900’s: Educational testing began in earnest (norm-referenced) • 1950’s, Tyler: planted the seeds of criterion-referenced as an alternative to norm-referenced tests

  9. WWII researchers investigated gov’t programs for military in areas of morale, resistance to propaganda, training • This marked the beginning of program evaluation • Kennedy/Johnson era of social programs led to creation of PPBS • Planning, programming, and budgeting system of McNamara was applied to assess social programming effectiveness

  10. Evaluation Requirements in 1965 Education Law • ESEA: Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 • Provided huge increase in federal grants to local schools • Required filing an evaluation report showing funding results, first time educators were required to evaluate their own efforts

  11. Why evaluate? • Evaluation directs actions • Identifies needs • Aids in monitoring/adjusting programs • Yields quality information for intelligent decision-making

  12. Formative: developmental feedback Summative: decision making Two Types of Evaluation

  13. Relationship acrossprogram life Emphasis Formative Summative Program life

  14. Evaluation Sources • External = evaluations conducted by outsiders • Internal = evaluations conducted by program employees • Pros and cons of each

  15. Knows program well Too close to be objective Full of details but may overlook critical variables Unbiased Difficult to learn as much about program Likely to be familiar with important contextual info Pros and Cons Internal External

  16. Importance and Limitations • With so many uses, evaluation is valuable and necessary in our society • Poorly planned evals disappoint • Promising results that cannot be reached create poor feelings and do not yield improvements

  17. Viewing evaluation as a magic wand to fix all ills often creates disillusionment • Evaluation can identify strengths and/or weaknesses, but it cannot correct problems all by itself • Evaluation is a tool for managers and stakeholders to make corrections

  18. Recent Trends in Evaluation • Specialists trained in evaluation • Development of unique evaluation content • Development of formal evaluator preparation programs • Career opportunities in evaluation emerge

  19. Institutionalization of the function of evaluation • Procedures for certification of evaluators • Development of professional associations (JCSEE: http://www.wmich.edu/evalctr/jc/) • Criteria for membership in associations are established

  20. Influence of evaluation associations on evaluator preparation programs • Development of standards for evaluation practice http://www.wmich.edu/evalctr/jc/