by Mandy Pearce

Evaluation methods are the criteria for evaluating the success of a program or project.

This tells the donor that you want to know if you’ve achieved your goals and objectives.

An evaluation plan tells many things.

  • How you will know (the criteria you will use to evaluate success – tests, surveys, etc.)
  • Methods that will be used to collect evaluation information
  • Methods that will be used to analyze the evaluation information
  • When you will conduct the evaluations (milestones, quarterly, annually)
  • Describes who is going to evaluate (qualifications, credentials)

Evaluation is about being open to continuing feedback and adjusting your program(s) accordingly.

The three main types of evaluation methods are goal based, process based and outcomes based. Goal based evaluations measure if objectives have been achieved. Process based evaluations analyze strengths and weaknesses. Outcomes based evaluations examine broader impacts and often investigate what greater good was served as a result of the program or project.

Some things to consider when selecting an evaluation method are:

  • What information is needed to make decisions?
  • What information can feasibly be collected and analyzed?
  • How accurate will the information be?
  • Will the information be credible to top donors or management?

Potential Evaluation Methods

Test
Pre and Post Test
Test Against Control Groups

Participation
Attendance
Completion
Certificates
Follow-On Tracking

Data Collection
Surveys
Questionnaires
Interviews
Checklists
Feedback forms

Financial Reports
Cost to budget
Cost per unit of service
On time on budget

Performance
Grades
Graduation
Drop in recidivism
Job placement
Permits, inspections, certifications

Subjective (Qualitative)
Journals
Testimonials
Observations
Photographs
Clippings

I hope this articles gives you some insights into creating evaluation methods and helps you explore some of the options you have when creating your program and project designs.

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