Program Evaluation Resources
Program evaluation is a critical part of grant development and management. Sponsors often require detailed, in-depth analysis of program outcomes. Many federal sponsors require that grant programs incorporate outside evaluators. You do not need to become an evaluation expert to write or manage a grant but the more knowledge you have about the field of evaluation, the better able you will be to address sponsors’ evaluation expectations.
At minimum, grant directors should monitor, track and document program services and the number of recipients receiving units of service. Sponsors will want to see documentation of services provided. Collect and keep workshop sign-in sheets. Ask counselors to keep and file notes of their meetings with advisees and students. Create calendars of dates counseling was provided. Create student files that contain documentation of every service each student receives. Document staff contributions to the project. These backup documents can be important during an audit.
Sponsors want to see the impact on recipients of the services they have funded. Program evaluation measures the change in an individual’s knowledge, understanding, or behavior that results directly from a program intervention. When writing a proposal think carefully about what change can be expected from the intervention your program puts in place and how you can measure the impact. Keep expectations reasonable and make sure to include only outcomes you can actually measure.
Logic models are often required to visually document the program resources, inputs, outputs, and short- term and long-term outcomes of the proposed program. To learn more about program evaluation or to find a qualified evaluator, the following resources may be helpful.
If you need to find an evaluator, the American Evaluation Association offers a list of professional evaluators. Member evaluators specialize in such areas as: college access programs, assessment in higher education, behavioral health, arts/culture/museums, distance and extension education, health professions, human services, and STEM education, among others. This is a good place to find an outside evaluator if one is required. The website also offers publications/journals, newsletters, blogs and other reading material.
Individual federal agencies offer resources on methods and approaches to evaluation. The National Science Foundation supports a separate organization dedicated to evaluating NSF’s Advanced Technological Education program called Evalu-ATE. This site offers a substantial amount of information on evaluation design, open access evaluation resources, webinars, a blog, and library of evaluation materials. Even if your program is not science related this website can be a great resource. On this page you can find multiple examples of logic models.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers Introduction to Program Evaluation for Public Health Programs: A Self-Study Guide which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/eval/guide/index.htm.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Administration for Children & Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation offers The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation.
The University of Kansas Center for Community Health and Development offers Evaluating Community Programs and Initiatives.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide and the W.K Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Guide are frequently cited and can be downloaded from this website.