What Is a Program Evaluation?
Program managers and staff frequently assess their program’s effectiveness informally: Are participants benefiting from the program? Are there sufficient numbers of participants? Are strategies for recruiting participants working? Are participants satisfied with the services or training? Do staff have the skills needed to provide the services or training? These are all questions that program managers and staff ask and answer on a routine basis.
Evaluation considers these same basic questions but through a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information—and for ensuring that its answers are supported by evidence. This does not mean that conducting an evaluation requires no technical knowledge or experience, nor does it mean that evaluation is beyond the understanding of program leads and staff.