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Program evaluation

Program evaluation entails the study of an organization’s goals, the processes used in achieving these goals and the impacts of the processes and organizational policies. Program evaluation involves collecting data, analyzing it and interpretation of the information which is vital in assessing the impact of an undertaking with an aim of improving it. Program evaluation can also be described as a collection of skills, sensitivities or methods deemed important in determining whether a program is useful and whether it can meet the identified unmet need.

Program evaluation helps in assessing whether services are offered as they were planned to and whether these services meet the intended purposes at reasonable costs (CONSAD Research Corporation, 1999). Program evaluation is categorized into five major areas. The first category is referred to as needs assessment. Under this, the problem’s nature being addressed by the program is examined which includes identifying the person affected by the problem, the extent of the problem and the effects or the impact of the problem.

The second category is the program theory. This describes the concept and design of the program. A programs theory shows the expected short term and long term effects of a program and is also helpful in identifying the positive and the negative consequences of a program. The third component in program evaluation is process analysis which deals with evaluating the program under implementation. The aim of process analysis is to check whether the intended services are reaching the targeted population and whether the staffs are qualified.

Impact evaluation is the fourth category of program evaluation which is used to assess the effects of a program. The last category in program evaluation is an analysis of cost benefit which tests the efficiency of the program (McNamara, 2008). Program evaluation is vital in formulating ways of reducing costs by an organization. Program evaluation helps earlier identification of potential problem areas thus earlier corrective measures are undertaken.

Failure to incorporate it may lead to higher costs to an organization. Program evaluation is vital in determining whether a program is fulfilling its objectives hence important in ensuring quality assurance. Failure to incorporate it may substandard quality being produced which could lead to high remake costs. Program evaluation is helpful in revealing problems which could be carried on to the procedures if the evaluation is not carried out leading to ineffectiveness and inefficiency.

To avoid such mistakes, program evaluation should be integrated in the management process (CONSAD Research Corporation, 1999). Reference: CONSAD Research Corporation (1999): Program Evaluation. Retrieved on 23rd January 2009 from, http://www. consad. com/eap/chapter05. htm. McNamara C. (2008): Basic Guide to Program Evaluation. Retrieved on 23rd January 2009 from, http://managementhelp. org/evaluatn/fnl_eval. htm

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