What is Program Evaluation?
Program evaluation is the systematic assessment of the processes and outcomes of a program with the intent of furthering its development to maximize student academic success. It is a collaborative process in which evaluators work closely with program staff to implement an evaluation design that is responsive to the needs of the program.
What is the Purpose of Program Evaluation?
- Ensure program alignment with the District vision
- Assess program strengths and weaknesses
- Assess the program’s success in meeting the intended goals
- Verify that the program is doing what it is supposed to do
- To provide insights about the extent to which students are achieving the goals and objectives set for them
- Improve, revise, or discontinue programs
Internal vs. External Evaluators
Internal and external distinguishes between evaluations conducted by program employees and those conducted by outsiders. Internal evaluators are more likely to know more about a program, its history, its staff, its clients, and its struggles than any outsider. Internal evaluators also know more about the organization, its culture, and its styles of decision-making. They are present to remind others of results now and can communicate technical results more frequently and clearly. However, internal evaluators are also more subject to internal bureaucratic restrictions and pressures.
In contrast, external evaluators can bring greater credibility, perceived objectivity, and may bring more breadth and depth of technical expertise. External evaluators are also more likely to have knowledge of how other similar organizations and programs work and offer broad perspectives. Internal evaluators and external evaluators can often collaborate to provide evaluations of different nature. For example, internal evaluators are well-positioned to conduct formative evaluations while external evaluators can provide the objectivity needed in conducting summative evaluations.