The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase is an online resource aiding education professionals in understanding the basics of project evaluation in order to properly assess projects and programs. It is organized around three elements to assist educators with their program evaluation.

Task 3: Orient Evaluation Team

Guideline: At the first meeting, prior to starting work, the evaluation team should have an orientation session. The project leader should provide an overview of the team's charter, the anticipated time line for completing its work, and discuss team dynamics. When presenting the orientation, the project lead might concentrate on the project specifics and utilize a person experienced with group dynamics to focus on the interpersonal interactions among team members. The length of the session can be mitigated by providing background material to the team members to review in advance. Orienting the evaluation team gives it focus and direction, two conditions necessary for a successful team effort.

Creative Thinking Tools - The Six Thinking Hats

Individual group members often have divergent viewpoints. Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats is a system fostering collaboration, increased productivity, creativity, and innovation. The concept enables participants in a discussion to move from the traditional argumentative approach to a collaborative process and fosters a more productive dialog. The document provides an overview of the tool and additional resources about it.

Guidelines for Productive Meetings

This guide from the Team Handbook might assist team members with having productive meetings.

Program Evaluation Standards

This link is to program evaluation standards published by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation.

Meetings 101

This tip sheet from offers a basic primer on how to conduct effective meetings.

Team Stages

Groups have a life-cycle of their own. When a team is formed it goes through a predictable maturation process in order to become an effective unit. This document offers guidance on the stages a team goes through as it members adjust to working together.

The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation

This guide reviews the basic elements of the evaluation process. Though written to fulfill program goals of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, it may be useful as a basic primer on evaluation.

Element 1: Plan the Evaluation

Purpose: Planning how to conduct a program evaluation is the essessential the first step. The preparatory thinking involves understanding the program being evaluated, organizing an evaluation team, and determining how to conduct the evaluation. Element 1 outlines the pre-planning tasks.

Activity 1: Understand Evaluation

Activity 2: Organize Evaluation Team

Activity 3: Establish Evaluation Focus

Element 2: Implement the Evaluation

Purpose: Conducting the evaluation involves designing data collection so the analysis and interpretation will answer the questions the evaluation sets out to resolve. When developing and implementing the evaluation design be flexible to collect and analyze data from many perspectives. The collected data should be attentive to the evaluation questions. Element 2 outlines the tasks associated with implementing the evaluation.

Activity 1: Data Collection

Activity 2: Understanding the Data

Activity 3: Report the Results

Element 3: Use the Results

Purpose: The evaluation's findings and recommendation have limited value unless they are shared with the stakeholders and utilized to improve the evaluated program. Using the results to improve the evaluated program and communicating with constituencies are activities that occur in parallel. Element 3 outlines the tasks associated with using the results.

Activity 1: Communicate with Constituencies

Activity 2: Use Results to Improve