Module D: Evaluate
Evaluation throughout the Logic Model
If you can’t measure success, how will you know you’ve achieved it? How do you know the outcomes of your program?
In our graphic of the Logic Model notice that the bar labeled Evaluation underlines the activities and services you perform throughout.
Evaluation, the foundation of a program, means the planners are continuously asking: will this work to produce worthwhile outcomes?
This module develops a vocabulary and system you can use for evaluation throughout the program.
Evaluating a program by its outcomes means you define success by the measurable changes in program participants brought about by participating in your program. Remember that you may write more than one outcome (so be sure each outcome contains only one concept to measure).
Measurable: That is, you can test for the change or observe it. But if you made a movie of success, the camera would focus on people, not on mechanisms or processes used to create the hoped-for results.
Changes in participants: Remember we’ve defined an outcome as a change in a target audience’s skills, attitudes, knowledge, behaviors, status, orlife condition brought about by experiencing a program.
Define success: Does the outcome represent a benefit for the target audience? Do key stakeholders accept the outcome as valid for your program? Finally, is the outcome realistic and attainable?
Participating in your program: Is it sensible to claim your program services influenced the outcome?
How do we measure outcomes?
Skills: Girl Scouts can identify local birds by sight and name.
Attitudes: Girl Scouts no longer think science is boring.
Knowledge: Girls Scouts know what local birds eat and what predators they face.
Behavior: Children read for pleasure over three hours per week.
Status: Students use educational materials on library computers to get GED and improved salary and job prospects.
Conditions: West Dakota residents stop smoking after using improved access to reliable, understandable medical information.
State the outcome you want to produce in simple, concrete, active terms—something that you will be able to measure and report without challenge. Notice in the poor statement of outcomes below that a skeptic could very well say, “Really? How are you going to prove that?” Yes, a skeptic might also say that to the more specific statements on the right, but wouldn’t it be easier to come up with specific indicators to support those revised statements?
Poor Outcome Statements
- Students will know how to use the Web
- Users will have better health information
- Teachers will be trained in curriculum design
- Democracy will flourish
Better Outcome Statements
- Students will demonstrate information literacy skills
- Users will make healthier life-style choices
- Teachers will design lesson plans for discovery learning about biodiversity
- Visitors will register to vote