Infrastructure Development Tools
Activity 7: Evaluation
Evaluation looks at what a program is about, including its goals and objectives, and seeks to learn whether these goals and objectives are being met. Effective program evaluation is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions by using procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate. It is important to integrate evaluation from the very beginning of program development to assess whether the state oral health program is meeting its goals and to identify ways to improve the program.
In day-to-day program evaluation, evaluators do the following:
- Consult stakeholders
- Define program goals
- State guiding questions
- Collect, analyze, and interpret data
- Form judgments
- Share lessons
An oral health program should seek expert assistance in planning and conducting its evaluation activities. When assembling an evaluation team, it is advisable for organizations, even those that have access to evaluation expertise within their own staff, to collaborate with partners and take advantage of expertise in the community and local universities. A state oral health program also can benefit from using a logic model for developing its evaluation plan. See the Performance-based Oral Health Infrastructure Development Logic Model [Word–48K] and Sample Work Plan [PDF–120K].
The state oral health program can benefit greatly by seeking opportunities to share the results of program accomplishments, best practices, and lessons learned. This can be accomplished through participating in forums for exchanging ideas and identifying methods and avenues for dissemination through national conferences such as the National Oral Health Conference, as well as local- and state-supported forums (e.g., state summits or state dental and dental hygiene association meetings).