“ Program evaluation is a collection of methods, skills and sensitivities necessary to determine whether a human service is needed and likely to be used , whether it is sufficiently intensive to meet the unmet needs identified, whether the service is offered as planned , and whether the human service actually does help people in need at reasonable cost without undesirable side effects ” (Posavac & Carey, 2003. p.2)
Outcomes are benefits or changes for individuals or populations during or after participating in program activities. Outcomes may relate to behavior, skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, condition, or other attributes.
They are what participants know, think, or can do; or how they behave; or what their condition is, that is different following the program.
Outcome evaluation helps us to demonstrate the nature of change that took place
A program to counsel families on financial management, outputs--what the service produces--include the number of financial planning sessions and the number of families seen. The desired outcomes--the changes sought in participants' behavior or status- -can include their developing and living within a budget, making monthly additions to a savings account, and having increased financial stability.
Greater effort needs to be expended in becoming familiar with and articulating program evaluation criteria including goals, objectives and implementation of model and theory
The choice of measurement needs to be grounded in a detailed understanding of program goals, objectives and service delivery in addition to the qualities of ideal assessment measures (e.g. reliability and validity)
All stages of planning must take into consideration practical limitations (eg. time, budget, resources)