Program evaluation: What is “it” and how do I know


Program evaluation: What is “it” and how do I know if “it” is working?

These questions cross the mind of almost every person involved in the evaluation process. Whether it is a family filling out a survey or a teacher logging assessment results, the questions of “what am I doing?” and “why?” are very common. In fact, the Early childhood program evaluations: A decision-maker’s guide (presented in this module’s Learning Resources), places the question, “Does ‘it’ work?” at the root of all program evaluations. Their research indicates that no matter the evaluation form, the focus of “what” is to be evaluated and whether the program is succeeding at “it” will prove to be at the forefront of all evaluation discussions, decisions, and stakeholder communications.

In this Discussion, you explore the many forms of and approaches for evaluating a program. You also consider how evaluation provides early childhood programs with meaningful information on program quality.

To prepare

Review the Early childhood program evaluations: A decision-maker’s guide,

Early Childhood Program Evaluations: A Decision-Maker’s Guide

 reflecting on the question, “Does ‘it’ work?” Then, explore the measurement tools overview provided by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement to identify the many forms of and approaches for effectively evaluating program quality.

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