Introduction to Evaluation Basics
This Evaluation Basics module will introduce Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs (OAPP) Adolescent Family Life (AFL) program staff to the basic principles of program evaluation and the skills needed to actively participate in the evaluation activities of their programs. It is OAPP/AFL’s hope that this module will give you an appreciation for what evaluation has to offer and what it can do for you.
Evaluation is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Framework for Program Evaluation as, “a systematic investigation of the merit, worth, or significance of an object.”1 Evaluation provides objective insight into a program and identifies opportunities to assess its impact, make improvements, and/or build program capacity.
Evaluation enables programs to identify components that are achieving their desired effect as well as those that are not functioning adequately. In addition, program evaluation provides documentation for funding agencies, such as state legislatures, stakeholders, and the federal government, that funds are being used appropriately and the desired effect or outcomes of the program are being achieved. Program evaluation is an essential organizational practice in public health and is a requirement of all OAPP/AFL grantees as stated in the Title XX statute.
The OAPP/AFL is committed to quality evaluation. As an OAPP/AFL grantee you are required by the grant to conduct an independent evaluation across all five years of your demonstration project. The responsibilities of demonstration projects are to
Nationally, demonstration projects are used to:
Findings from OAPP/AFL research and evaluation can be directly applied to improve and strengthen OAPP/AFL demonstration projects, as well as contribute to the evidence base on adolescent interventions for the field in general. The OAPP is building the capacity to conduct a meaningful evaluation of projects throughout the country. This e-learning module is one example of evaluation technical assistance offered by the OAPP.
Over the course of this module you will be introduced to basic program evaluation principles. The next section of the module will introduce a framework for planning and conducting effective evaluations. Definitions of key terminology are included in Section 3 of the module. Additional resources for planning and conducting evaluation activities are included in Section 4.