Roadmap for State Program Planning: Evaluate the Program
Funded states should report their work plan progress and evaluation results twice a year, in an Interim Progress Report (IPR) and a Year End Report, according to the 2007 Program Announcement. [PDF–1M]. The HDSP Management Information System (MIS) (Note: States that are not funded will not be able to access the MIS.) can be used to track progress and generate reports to document progress on objectives and completion of products, such as the HDS Burden Document. Evaluation activities and findings can be entered in the MIS as objective progress notes. Evaluation reports and documentation can also be uploaded.
The IPR is submitted as a reapplication for funding and is used to document year-to-date (YTD) progress toward objectives. The Year End Report is used to document progress accomplished for the entire grant year.
Some evaluation findings and lessons learned should also be reported to partners and stakeholders.
What to Do
When developing progress reports, be sure to include documentation [PDF–131K] showing HDSP performance expectations have been met or enhanced for activities and interventions. Progress can be reported using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
Documenting feedback and lessons learned is an important part of reporting progress. Further, documenting stakeholder feedback is crucial to determine if interventions and activities were successful. Because programs often possess both strengths and weaknesses, documenting lessons learned can show balance, clarity, and objectivity.
The MIS includes narrative sections for each intervention objective for states to document barriers, lessons learned, and specific evaluative processes or outcome results. Additional stakeholder or informal reports can be uploaded into the MIS to provide additional information.
Reporting to Stakeholders
You may want to communicate evaluation results to your partners and to pertinent stakeholders or organizations that should have the information as agreed upon by you and your partners, especially on the lessons learned. What you report and how you report it can be specific to the intended audience. For example, partners may be interested in different results than what your staff may be interested in.
How to Do It
The report may include what you learned from the experience of planning and implementing your capacity building and intervention activities. The lessons you learn are valuable, not only for future efforts, but also for those who could benefit from your experiences. Your evaluation report should include both process and outcome results if you have them. Your reporting may be guided by the goal of achieving balance, clarity, and objectivity.
Ideally, reporting addresses these key issues—
- Assessment of objectives.
- How well were objectives met?
- What new information about health issues needs to be incorporated into the design of activities or interventions?
- Identification of activities that need additional effort.
- Which objectives were unmet? Why were they unmet? What barriers were encountered?
- Which activities were unsuccessful? Why were they unsuccessful? What should be changed so they are successful?
- Identification of effective activities or interventions.
- Which objectives were met as a result of successful activities or interventions?
- Could they be continued, renewed, and/or strengthened?
- Can they be expanded to apply to other situations?
- Comparison of costs and results.
- What were the relative costs (including staff time) and results of different activities or interventions?
- Did some appear to work as well as others but cost less?
- Assessment of the roles of organizations in the project and the interactions among the organizations.
- Did any conflicts of organizational agendas or operating styles occur?
- How did the timing of the activity or intervention coordinate with the different organizations involved?
A well-developed evaluation report includes—
- A description of the program activities or interventions.
- A description of the expected outcomes of the intervention.
- A description of the evaluation process and methods.
- Findings and recommendations, along with an interpretation of what the findings mean.
- Graphs or charts to convey complex data.
- A logic model showing the relationship between the activities and expected outcomes.
As you prepare the report, it is a good idea to keep in mind how familiar your audience is with your program and the evaluation. You may also find that you will develop reports with different content for different audiences. For example, a report for CDC will focus on outcomes and processes, while an internal report may focus on program improvement.
Carefully choose the format you will use to convey the evaluation results. The format you choose will depend on the intended use your audience and users of your results. Results can be reported via—
- Written reports
- Oral presentations
- Journal articles
- Newspaper articles
- Partnership meetings
- Workgroup meetings
- Executive summaries
- Chart essays
- Story format