Different Types of Evaluation

  • Formative
    • Definition
      • Evaluates a program during development in order to make early improvements
      • Helps to refine or improve a program
    • Uses
      • When starting a new program
      • To assist in the early phases of program development
    • Examples
      • How well is the program being delivered?
      • What strategies can we use to improve this program?
  • Summative
    • Definition
      • Provides information on program effectiveness
      • Is conducted after the completion of the program design
    • Uses
      • To help decide whether to continue, end, or expand a program
    • Examples
      • Should funding continue for this program?
      • Should service expand to other after-school programs in the community?
  • Process
    • Definition
      • Focuses on program implementation
      • Determines whether specific program strategies were implemented as planned
    • Uses
      • To determine why an established program has changed over time
      • To address inefficiencies in program delivery
      • To accurately portray program operations to outside parties (e.g., for replication elsewhere)
    • Examples
      • Did your program meet its goals for participant recruitment?
      • Did participants receive the specified number of service hours?
  • Outcomes
    • Definition
      • Focuses on the changes in comprehension, attitudes, behaviors, and practices that result from program activities
      • Can include both short- and long-term results
    • Uses
      • To decide whether an activity affected participants’ outcomes
      • To establish and measure clear benefits of the program
    • Examples
      • Did your participants report the expected changes after completing a program cycle?
      • What are the short- or long-term results observed among (or reported by) participants?
  • Impact
    • Definition
      • Focuses on long-term, sustained changes as a result of program activities, both positive and negative and intended and unintended
    • Uses
      • To influence policy
      • To see impact in longitudinal studies with comparison groups
    • Examples
      • What changes in your program participants’ behaviors are attributable to your program?
      • What effects would program participants miss out on without this program?