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Street Jibe Evaluation Workshop 2

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Dr. Uzo Anucha - Workshop presentation -Streetjibe - Thinking Critically to Improve Program Effectiveness

Dr. Uzo Anucha - Workshop presentation -Streetjibe - Thinking Critically to Improve Program Effectiveness

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  • 1. A Conversation about Program Evaluation: Why, How and When? Uzo Anucha, MSW; PhD Associate Professor – School of Social Work Director – Applied Social Welfare Research and Evaluation Group York University
  • 2. Presentation Outline
    • Setting the Context for our Program Evaluation Work
      • Our Evaluation Principles…..
      • Why Evaluate?
      • Who is An Evaluation For?
      • Types of Evaluation
    • Outcome Evaluation
    • Planning a Program Evaluation
      • Engage Stakeholders
      • Focus the Evaluation
      • Collect Data
      • Analyze & Interpret
      • Use the Information
    • Ready, Set, Go? Some Things to Consider…..
  • 3. Setting the Context for our Program Evaluation Work
  • 4. Our Evaluation Principles …..
    • We are committed to the following principles/values in our evaluation work
    • Strengthen projects
    • Use multiple approaches
    • Design evaluation to address real issues
    • Create a participatory process
    • Allow for flexibility
    • Build capacity
    • (W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook, 1998)
  • 5. Our Evaluation Approach….
    • A Critical Approach: Question the questions.
    • Some questions to consider:
      • How does this program work?
      • Why has it worked or not worked? For whom and in what circumstances?
      • What was the process of development and implementation?
      • What were the stumbling blocks faced along the way?
      • What do the experiences mean to the people involved?
      • How do these meanings relate to intended outcomes?
      • What lessons have we learned about developing and implementing this program?
      • How have contextual factors impacted the development, implementation, success, and stumbling blocks of this program?
      • What are the hard-to-measure impacts of this program (ones that cannot be easily quantified)? How can we begin to effectively document these impacts?
    • (W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook, 1998)
  • 6. Our Evaluation Approach….
    • We acknowledge the influence of paradigms, politics, and values and are willing to deal with these by:
      • Getting ‘inside’ the project
      • Creating an environment where all stakeholders are encouraged to discus their values and philosophies
      • Challenging our assumptions
      • Asking stakeholders for their perspectives on particular issues
      • Listening
      • Remembering there may be multiple “right” answers
      • Maintain regular contact and provide feedback to stakeholders
      • Designing specific strategies to air differences and grievances.
      • Make the evaluation and its findings useful and accessible. Early feedback and a consultative relationship with stakeholders and project staff leads to a greater willingness by staff to disclose important and sensitive information
      • Sensitivity to the feelings and rights of individuals.
      • Create an atmosphere of openness to findings, with a commitment to considering change and a willingness to learn.
      • (W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook, 1998)
  • 7. What is Not Program Evaluation? What is Program Evaluation?
  • 8.
    • Program evaluation is not an assessment of individual staff performance. The purpose is to gain an overall understanding of the functioning of a program.
    • Program evaluation is not an audit – evaluation does not focus on compliance with laws and regulations.
    • Program evaluation is not research . It is a pragmatic way to learn about a program.
    What is Not Program Evaluation?
  • 9.
    • Program evaluation is not one method . It can involve a range of techniques for gathering information to answer questions about a program.
      • Most programs already collect a lot of information that can be used for evaluation. Data collection for program evaluation can be incorporated in the ongoing record keeping of the program.
    What is Not Program Evaluation?
  • 10.
    • Program evaluation means taking a systematic approach to asking and answering questions about a program.
      • 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)
    What is Program Evaluation?
  • 11. Why Evaluate?
  • 12.
    • Verify that resources are devoted to meeting unmet needs
    • Verify that planned programs do provide services
    • Examine the results
    • Determine which services produce the best results
    • Select the programs that offer the most needed types of services
    Why Evaluate?
  • 13.
    • Provide information needed to maintain and improve quality
    • Watch for unplanned side effects
    • Create program documentation
    • Help to better allocate program resources
    • Assist staff in program development and improvement
    Why Evaluate?
  • 14. Evaluation can….
    • Increase our knowledge base
    • Guide decision making
      • Policymakers
      • Administrators
      • Practitioners
      • Funders
      • General public
      • Clients
    • Demonstrate accountability
    • Assure that client objectives are being achieved
  • 15. Who is an evaluation for?
  • 16.
    • What do they want to know?
    • What do we want to tell them about the program?
    • How can they contribute to the evaluation?
    • Program participants?
    • Family members and caregivers?
    • Program staff?
    • Volunteers?
    • Partner agencies and professionals?
    • Referral sources?
    • Funders?
    • Others?
    Who is an evaluation for?
  • 17. Types of Evaluation….
  • 18. Types of evaluations
    • Needs assessment
    • Evaluability assessment
    • Process evaluation
    • Outcome evaluation
    • Efficiency evaluation (cost evaluation)
  • 19. Process Evaluation….
  • 20. Process Evaluation
    • Sometimes referred to as “formative evaluation”
    • Documents and analyzes how a program works and identifies key factors that influence the operation of the program.
    • Allows for a careful description of a program’s actual implementation and services therefore facilitating the replication of the program.
    • Emphasis is on describing activities and characteristics of clients and workers.
    • Allows for an investigation of whether services are delivered in accordance with program design and makes it possible to study the critical ingredients of a model.
  • 21. Process Evaluation
    • Findings of a process evaluation are critical in shaping further development of a program’s services and assists in explaining why program objectives are (or are not) being met.
    • Focuses on verifying program implementation… looks at the approach to client service delivery...day to day operations
    • Two major elements:
      • 1) how a program’s services are delivered to clients (what worker’s do including frequency and intensity; client characteristics; satisfaction
      • 2) administrative mechanisms to support these services (qualifications; structures; hours; support services; supervision; training)
  • 22. Process Evaluation:
    • Examples of Process Evaluation Questions:
      • Is the program attracting a sufficient number of clients?
      • Are clients representative of the target population?
      • How much does the staff actually contact the client?
      • Does the workload of staff match that planned?
      • Are there differences in effort among staff?
  • 23. Outcome Evaluation….
  • 24. Outcome Evaluation
    • 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
  • 25. Outcome Evaluation
    • Outcome evaluation tests hypotheses about how we believe that clients will change after a period of time in our program.
    • Evaluation findings are specific to a specific group of clients experiencing the specific condition of one specific program over a specific time frame at a specific time.
  • 26. For example:
    • 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.
  • 27. Uses of Outcome Evaluation
    • Improving program services to clients
    • Generating knowledge for the profession
    • Estimating costs
    • Demonstrate nature of change...evaluation of program objectives e.g. what we expect clients to achieve
    • Guide major program decisions and program activities
  • 28. Outcome Evaluation
    • Describe program effects
      • Is the desired outcome observed?
      • Are program participants better off than non-participants?
      • Is there evidence that the program caused the observed changes?
      • Is there support for the theoretical foundations underpinning the program?
      • Is there evidence that the program could be implemented successfully elsewhere?
  • 29. Program-Level Evaluations
    • Program level evaluations vary on a continuum and are fundamentally made up of three levels
      • Exploratory
      • Descriptive
      • Explanatory
  • 30. Program-Level Evaluations
    • Program level evaluations vary on a continuum and are fundamentally made up of three levels
      • Exploratory
      • Descriptive
      • Explanatory
  • 31. Exploratory Outcome Evaluation Designs
    • Questions here include:
      • Did the participants meet a criterion (e.g. Treated vs. Untreated)?
      • Did the participants improve (e.g. appropriate direction)?
      • Did the participants improve enough (e.g. statistical vs. meaningful difference)?
      • Is there a relation between change and service intensity and participant characteristics?
  • 32. Exploratory Designs
    • One group post test only
    • Multi-group post test only
    • Longitudinal case study
    • Longitudinal survey
  • 33. Strengths of Exploratory Designs
    • Less intrusive and inexpensive
    • Assess the usefulness and feasibility of further evaluations
    • Can correlate improvement with other variables.
  • 34. Descriptive Designs
    • To show that something causes something else, it is necessary to demonstrate:
      • That the cause precedes the supposed effects in time e.g. that an intervention precedes the change
      • That the cause covaries with the effect – the change covaries with the intervention – the more the intervention, the more the change.
      • That no viable explanation of the effect can be found except for the assumed cause e.g. there can be no other explanation for the change except the intervention.
    • Both 1 and 2 can be achieved with exploratory designs…but not 3.
  • 35. Descriptive Designs
    • Randomized one-group posttest only
    • Randomized cross-sectional and longitudinal survey
    • One-group pretest-posttest
    • Comparison group posttest only
    • Comparison group pretest-posttest
    • Interrupted time series 
  • 36. Explanatory Designs
    • Defining characteristic is observation of people randomly assigned to either a program or control condition .
    • Considered much better at addressing threats to internal validity
    • Program group vs. Control group: if groups are formed randomly there is no reason to believe they differ in rate of maturation; no self selection into groups; groups did not begin at different levels
  • 37. Explanatory Designs
    • Classical experimental
    • Solomon four group
    • Randomized posttest only control group
  • 38. Explanatory Designs
    • Strengths/Limitations:
      • counter threats to internal validity
      • allow interpretations of causation
      • expensive and difficult to implement
      • frequently resistance from practitioners who already know what is best
    •   Suggested Times to Use:
      • when new program is introduced
      • when stakes are high
      • when there is controversy over efficacy
      • when policy change is desired
      • when program demand is high
  • 39. Planning a Program Evaluation
  • 40. Planning a Program Evaluation
    • Engage Stakeholders
    • Focus the Evaluation
    • Collect Data
    • Analyze & Interpret
    • Use the Information
  • 41. Engage Stakeholders
    • Who should be involved?
    • How might they be engaged?
      • Identify & meet with stakeholders – program director, staff, funders/program sponsors and clients/program participants.
  • 42. Focus the Evaluation
    • What are you going to evaluate? (Describe program logic model/theory of change)
    • What is the evaluability of the program?
    • What is the purpose of the evaluation?
    • Who will use the evaluation? How will they use it?
    • What questions will the evaluation seek to answer?
    • What information do you need to answer the questions?
    • When is the evaluation needed?
    • What evaluation will you use?
  • 43. Collect Data
    • What sources of information will you use?
      • Intended beneficiaries of the program (program participants, artifacts, community indexes)
      • Providers of service (program staff, program records)
      • Observers (expert observers, trained observers, significant others, evaluation staff)
    • What data collection method (s) will you use?
    • When will you collect data for each method you’ve chosen?
  • 44. Analyze & Interpret
    • How will the data be analyzed?
      • Data analysis methods
      • Who is responsible
    • How will the information be interpreted – by whom?
    • What did you learn?
    • What are the limitations?
  • 45. Use the Information
    • How will the evaluation be communicated and shared?
      • To whom?
      • When?
      • Where?
      • How to present?
    • Next steps
  • 46. Ready, Set, Go? Some things to consider…..
  • 47. StreetJibe: Summary of Process and Outcome Evaluation Questions
  • 48. Things to Consider…..
    • Planning an evaluation follows similar steps to the conduct of more basic research with some additional considerations
    • More effort needs to be expended in engaging and negotiating with stakeholder groups
    • There needs to be a keener awareness of the social/political context of the evaluation (e.g. differing and competing interests)
  • 49. Important to consider…
    • Internal or external evaluators?
    • Scope of evaluation?
      • Boundary
      • Size
      • Duration
      • Complexity
      • Clarity and time span of program objectives
      • Innovativeness
  • 50. Challenging Attitudes toward Program Evaluation…….
    • Expectations of slam-bang effects
    • Assessing program quality is unprofessional
    • Evaluation might inhibit innovation
    • Program will be terminated
    • Information will be misused
    • Qualitative understanding might be lost
    • Evaluation drains resources
    • Loss of program control
    • Evaluation has little impact