WHY PARTICIPATE IN THE LIFE SKILLS EVALUATION?
Evaluation data are needed at the local and state level to provide information
to funders and decision-makers about the impacts our programs
have on youth and adult participants. This process will allow
for both local and statewide data to be aggregated and used in
a variety of reports.
BASICS OF PROGRAM EVALUATIONS
Program evaluation is the systematic collection of information to be used in assessing
program components in order to make decisions about the program
(Jacobs, 1988; Patton, 1997). There are two general types of evaluation:
Process evaluations focus on how well a program is working by looking at the
process of delivering a program, such as the setup of the program and the activities
used to teach the content.
Outcome evaluations examine whether or not personal behavior changes have occurred
as a result of the program.
This Life Skills Evaluation System focuses on developing tools for outcome evaluations.
of program evaluations are used for one or more of the following purposes (Patton, 1997):
Plans for the evaluation of a program should occur from the very start
of a program, during the program planning stage (Jacobs, 1988).
Gathering data for program improvement.
Determining the worthiness of a program (i.e., Did the participants gain knowledge or change behavior?).
Obtaining general knowledge about a program.
The evaluation then becomes integrated into the everyday activities of the program.
The purpose of the evaluation should be tied to the developmental stage of the program.
Jacobs (1988) developed the Five-Tiered Approach to Evaluation, suggesting that evaluation
of new programs focus on the process of accountability and improvement while the
evaluation of established programs move toward a level of assessing outcomes or impact.
According to the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1994),
in order to develop good, useful evaluations, four characteristics must be kept in mind when
planning the evaluation:
Utility - An evaluation needs to be useful for those involved in the program.
Propriety - Evaluation procedures need to be ethical toward participants and
as non-disruptive as possible for the program.
Accuracy - Data gathered for the evaluation needs to be accurate.
Feasibility - The evaluation needs to be achievable with the resources available,
especially time and money.
Jacobs, F. H. (1988). The five-tiered approach to evaluation: Context and
implementation. In H. B. Weiss & F. H. Jacobs (Eds.), Evaluating Family Programs
New York: Aldine DeGruyter.
Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation
. (3rd Edition).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1994).
The program evaluation standards: How to assess evaluations of educational programs.
(2nd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.