Program evaluation is the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programs to make judgments about the program, improve program effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future program development. Evaluation can be a straightforward way to tell the story about the program, share successes, and identify ways to improve.
What is the difference between process and outcome evaluation?
Process and outcome evaluation each answers different questions about the program and relies on different types of data.
Process evaluation: the collection of information that allows staff to determine how well the program is being implemented. Process evaluation data should align with program objectives to ensure that objectives are achieved.
Outcome evaluation: the collection of information that helps staff assess what happens as a result of program activities. Outcome evaluation is helpful when more information is needed on which to base future program decisions.
What are sample process evaluation questions?
Sample process evaluation questions include:
Is the program being implemented as planned? Why or why not?
Is the target audience being reached?
Are partnerships working effectively? Why or why not?
Is funding sufficient to achieve program goals?
What are the barriers to student participation in the programs?
What are sample outcome evaluation questions?
Sample outcome evaluation questions include:
Did we achieve our intended outcomes?
Does the program increase the quality of physical activity opportunities for students at school?
Has the program improved the school climate related to physical activity?
What has changed as a result of the program (e.g., increased school-community partnerships)?
Were there any unintended effects of the program (e.g., parents engage in more physical activity with children at home)?
What data collection methods are used for evaluation?
Common data collection methods include questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, document reviews, and observations. There are three approaches to qualitative interviews that vary in level of structure: informal conversational (questions and topics not predetermined); semi-structured (include an outline of topics or issues to be covered); standardized (set protocol of questions and probes).
How should the CSPAP plan be tracked?
It is important to keep all the CSPAP planning documents together, keep the plan visible, and revisit the plan regularly (bi-weekly or monthly) to review, determine if what was in the written plan is actually being completed or implemented, and update the plan as activities are accomplished.