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Evaluation Manual

Planning: Preparing for the Evaluation of Financial Education Projects and Programs

Evaluation is an integral part of the educational programming process. To make evaluation useful in program improvement, the evaluation plan should be drawn at the beginning of the program instead of waiting until the end. Evaluation still can be conducted after the program has started, but doing so limits the type of information gathered. It is best to plan the evaluation as early as possible.

Section Summary

Primary Sections Section Summary

Who should conduct the evaluation?

Based on their own capacity to conduct the evaluation, educators can choose to conduct evaluations on their own or to hire an outside evaluation expert. Educators can build an evaluation team by including individuals who share an investment or interest in the findings.

What is our program or project trying to do?

Before conducting the evaluation, it is useful to identify the theory behind why and how the program will produce the intended outcomes. The logical prediction of how a program’s activities and resources are intended to lead to specific outcomes is called a logic model (sometimes referred to as a theory of change).

What outcomes should be included in our logic model or explored in our evaluation?

Assuming that examining programmatic outcomes are an evaluation priority, the outcomes included in the logic model should be the same outcomes examined in the evaluation. When selecting the most relevant and appropriate outcomes for the logic model, it is important to consider which outcomes are feasible given the intervention, when particular types of outcomes typically appear, and the age of the participants. The planned outcomes should be measurable and reasonably achievable with the available resources within the specified time period.

What questions do we want to answer?

Evaluation questions provide the foundation upon which the evaluation is built. These questions should articulate the issues and concerns of the educator and other program stakeholders, as well as addressing the presence and quality of the logic model.