The mention of program evaluation brings to mind the importance of doing program evaluation. It is therefore important to understand what it’s all about. A Program is a collection of resources and activities aimed at achieving a certain goal (Alexander, Jones, & Henert, 2002). Evaluation consequently should refer to the periodic assessment of a program to determine whether it is accomplishing the goals for which it was formulated. In essense, how should (and how do) decision makers use the results from a program evaluation?
Evaluations are done for different reasons depending on the needs of the managers. They could be goal-based, process-based and even outcome-based. The core idea behind program evaluation is to determine the effeciency of the program in place. The evaluation report answers questions such as; did the program reach its intended goal or not?, was it cost effective?, were there any problems and can they be corrected and how? According to Millar, Simeone & Carnevale (2001) it is through evaluation and measuring of outcomes that a company can know its effectiveness.
Besides measuring achievement, program evaluation acts as an ongoing management and learning tool. Similar to after action reports in critical incidents, evaluation findings point out to good practices and lessons learnt. Moreover, managers can identify activities that were used but not addressed in the original planning stages. The management therefore recognises employee contributions which may come with rewards that ultimately boosts employee morale.
Every organisation has every reason to evaluate its progress from time to time. It is the only measure of effectiveness that identifies its strengths and weaknesses and offers invaluable recommendations and solutions.
Alexander, T.P, Jones, L., & Henert, E. (2002). Enhancing program performance with logic models. New York: Henry Holt.
Millar, A; Simeone, R; Carnevale, J. (2001) Logic models: A systems tool for performance management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.