Program Evaluation

Program evaluation looks at how well programs work, including whether its 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, credible, feasible, ethical, and accurate. It is important to integrate evaluation from the very beginning of program development to assess whether a program is meeting its goals and to identify ways it can be improved. Program evaluation should be an ongoing process with evaluators doing the following:

  • Consulting stakeholders.
  • Defining program goals.
  • Devising evaluation questions.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data.
  • Forming judgments and recommendations.
  • Sharing lessons.

A state oral health program should seek expert assistance in planning and conducting its evaluation activities. This could include a shared program evaluator position with other CDC-funded programs or collaboration with partners to take advantage of expertise in the community and local universities. Programs should assemble an evaluation team to assist in the development of an evaluation plan and program logic models. CDC provides resources to boost state evaluation efforts.

Additional Resources

Evaluation Learning Series

The Division of Oral Health developed an Evaluation Learning Series (ELS) to increase the knowledge of state oral health staff in developing effective evaluation plans and evaluation reports and to foster a peer-to-peer learning environment for states to improve the quality and rigor of evaluation data. Each of the six webinars of this series was built on the six-step CDC Framework for Program Evaluation.

Evaluation Learning Series #1: The Importance of Engaging Stakeholders pdf icon[PDF – 531 KB]
Evaluation Learning Series #2: How to Create a Program Description and Develop a Logic Model pdf icon[PDF – 681 KB]
Evaluation Learning Series #3: Evaluation Questions pdf icon[PDF – 651 KB]
Evaluation Learning Series #4: Evaluation Design & Indicators pdf icon[PDF – 947 KB]
Evaluation Learning Series #5: Connecting the Dots: Methods and Analysis pdf icon[PDF – 1 MB]
Evaluation Learning Series #6: Writing and Dissemination pdf icon[PDF – 856 KB]

Other Resources

Success Stories Workbook: Impact and Value: Telling Your Program’s Story ( link)

American Evaluation Associationexternal icon

CDC Framework for Program Evaluation

Steps for Developing Logic Models pdf icon[PDF–1.8MB]