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Program evaluation Essay

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Program evaluation: A program is a systematically organised process used to guide the relevant bodies/organisations in accomplishing their missions. Organisations that have programs are such as the health system organisations, government, business organisations among others. According to Devin, policy making has evaluation as one of the important processes, he indicates that evaluation is the last step made for a conclusion to be drawn about what policy should be put in place. Who makes the policies?

It might be the government, the organization leaders and others. These people can at one time want to know really if a policy has achieved its targets with effectiveness to the role in the community and under what costs. A feedback on this is needed and it is only evaluation that can solve this. Evaluation of programs are important in making program policies and serve the same roles as said before of general evaluation, its only that program evaluation narrows down the role to one specific thing, the program being evaluated <http://www.writing. com/main/view_item/item_id/1242522200>.

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Other importance of program evaluation and why evaluation is most carried out include; to improve the delivery systems hence the products offered, improve the quality of what is offered, facilitate managements arrangement of how they conduct their work, to produce valid results hat can be used for future references and decision making towards the well being of an organisation concerning their programs (whether to retain a certain program and leave the other), having the basis of doing so.

The evaluation results can also be used as references to determine good and effective programs that can be used somewhere else <http://www. authenticityconsulting. com/pubs/PG_gdes/PG_pubs. htm. > Planning: Program evaluation entails planning on how to conduct the exercise. First of all, a program has to be identified, of which to an evaluator, given a contract he/she already knows what program to deal with. Then the next step is work plan, which depends on an evaluator’s decision, the kind of information he/she is to look for and the resources available.

An evaluators plan will help him run his job very quickly and effectively. Planning requires than an evaluator know the types of evaluation and to decide on which one to use based on the type of evaluation he is to conduct and be focused. Other factors to put into consideration when planning are like; the main reason for conducting evaluation, the methods that can be used in collecting information, the sources from which the information is to be collected, the audiences, what time is given for the evaluation to be complete and lastly what amount of resources are available for the evaluation exercise.

Just like in the overall evaluation requirements, program evaluation requires specific approaches or types of evaluation programs to be used. A choice on the type of evaluation will depend on all these factors that have been mentioned in planning (Trochim 2006). Evaluation is classified into three, evaluation conducted while specifically focusing on the outcomes, evaluations based on targets/ goals of the organization and evaluations that deal with program processes.

Evaluations based on the program targets are meant to determine if the programs with the already set plans meet the set targets and to what extent, so that a program is considered as either effective or not. Processed based evaluations deal with how the programs work to meet the targets. This type of evaluation looks at the program steps involved in production and determine if they are according to standard and plan organised before for them.

It is mainly used to determine where there are faults due to complains from audience, inefficiency and to serve as proof of operating standards to the external parties. The out-come based evaluation is based on the achievements or lets call it the results of the program implementation, so that a program is analysed as doing the right job in the organisation and if the organisation deserves to have such a program.

This kind of evaluation is usually demanded by clients or investors whose interest are to find out if their resources are going at a waste or in the correct field. This type of evaluation is very hard to use since program outcomes are always confused with program outputs. For it to be used and reliable results obtained, major outcomes have to be identified thats the first step, the ones to be examined have to be selected and prioritised, then each outcome is examined separately looking at the measures and indicators of importance.

When doing all these, the clients targets have to be considered under each outcome while looking for which information is needed. After planning the work an evaluator is free to do his/her job (Benson et al. 2001, pp 43-47). Methods of collecting information for evaluation purposes: There are various and this depends on the type of information, the program itself, the reason for evaluation exercise and the type of evaluation being done.

The methods are; questionnaires, checklists and surveys used to obtain information from a lot of people in a friendly manner, interviews for collecting more information about people’s experiences and views, documentation review when information is to be obtained about a program’s operation without interrupting it, focus groups that are used to get information from discussions with the aim same as that of interviews, case studies method that is used to obtain information for research based evaluation that requires detailed information about the program and also involves cross examination with other related cases, and lastly observation method that only needs comments from what an evaluator observes (Ruiz et al. 1999, pp. 135-142).

Analysis: Information gathered need to be analysed for evaluation to be complete and report presented. Analysis depends on whether the information obtained is of qualitative or quantitative data and on what type of evaluation an evaluator used. It begins with the main reason why the evaluation was conducted while categorising for ease of the next steps of evaluation <http://www. authenticityconsulting. com/pubs/PG_gdes/PG_pubs. htm. >. Qualitative data analysis- qualitative data are information expressing respondents views, experiences and feelings including those obtained from questionnaires.

Analysing this kind of data involves reading through and arranging information according to similarity, the similar groups are then given identifications and associations noted. This information is kept for future reference (Shaw 2006, p. 124). Quantitative data analysis: Quantitative data are information apart from commentary, they are analysed by tabulating then computing average whenever necessary for each question like in ratings and rankings, for example mean 29. 0 belongs to rank ‘1’, 45. 2 belongs to rank ‘3’ and 33. 2 to rank’2′. Possible answers should be obtained from these computed figures and analysis made, for example, 13 patients ranked ‘3’, 10 of them ranked ‘1’ and the rest 23 ranked ‘3’ (Shaw 2006, p. 125).

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