Program Evaluation

Evaluation is an important part of the program development process. It helps you determine the success and impacts of your educational activities and entire programs. By evaluating your programming efforts, you learn how your work made a difference in the lives of people, communities, and the environment. It answers two fundamental questions: Who Cares? And So What? Documenting the results of your efforts is also increasingly expected by funders and stakeholders.

The following websites contain easy-to-use, practical suggestions, tools, and techniques for enhancing and strengthening your program evaluation practices.

  • UMaine Extension: As a result of the Creating Impact Statements workshop conducted by Dr. Nancy Franz in 2007, UMaine Cooperative Extension created Creating Impact Statements — The Ultimate Success Story, a site that highlights links to resources Dr. Franz shared during her presentation.
  • Penn State’s Program Evaluation website offers a series of tip sheets that answer questions about program evaluation, evaluation examples that demonstrate a variety of collection methods to evaluate programs, and links to other evaluation resources. Nancy Ellen Kierman, Program Evaluator, provides ongoing support and resources for this site.
  • University of Wisconsin Extension’s Program Development and Evaluation website offers information about program development and evaluation, including quick tips, evaluation publications, and sample evaluation instruments.
  • Plan Your Evaluation provides links to tip sheets that can help you plan your evaluation, collect information, analyze and interpret information, communicate results, improve your evaluation quality, and a section on the retrospective post-then-pre evaluation technique.
  • Additional PD&E Resources offer practical suggestions for improving your program development and evaluation practices.
  • Virginia Tech: Impact statements are a tool for communicating the value and difference we make in people’s lives. Our stakeholders are always seeking concise and easily understood information that answers the “So What” question relative to social, economic, and environmental impacts.
  • To guide you in crafting a simple impact statement for UMaine Cooperative Extension’s online planning and reporting system, visit Virginia Tech’s “Writing Effective Impact Statements: Who Cares? So What?” This site includes samples of impact statements from different program areas.
  • Ohio State, with Program Development and Evaluation Leader Tom Archer, developed a web portal named SAMMIE, which stands for Successful Assessment Methods and Measurement In Evaluation. Through SAMMIE you can access resources on 21 evaluation-related topics; read the best literature on the Web related to program evaluation; Ask an Expert your questions about program evaluation, and develop a personalized program evaluation plan.