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Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Corinne Datchi-Phillips, Ph.D. CEBP Learning Institute May 26 th, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Corinne Datchi-Phillips, Ph.D. CEBP Learning Institute May 26 th, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Corinne Datchi-Phillips, Ph.D. CEBP Learning Institute May 26 th, 2010

2 Breakout Session Objectives 1.Participants will increase their understanding of the purpose and goals of program evaluation. 2.Participants will be able to identify what questions they may ask to improve their correctional programming. 3.Participants will become knowledgeable about the goals of different types of program evaluation. 4.Participants will learn about existing resources they may use to guide the evaluation of their services. 5.Participants will be introduced to the recommendations of the CEBP regarding data collection in program evaluation.

3 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation The goal and purpose of program evaluation

4 Program Evaluation Purpose – To provide administrators with information about program activities and outcomes – To contribute to the delivery of quality service to people in need

5 Program Evaluation Goals: – Improve correctional treatment and supervision programs (enhance effectiveness and quality of service); – Inform program-level decisions; – Help public officials meet the obligation of using resources effectively by identifying and providing cost-effective programs.

6 Program Evaluation Goals – To inform decisions by identifying The need for specific services The likelihood that these services will be utilized What amount of service is necessary to meet the needs that have been identified

7 Program Evaluation Goals – To inform decisions about the selection and implementation of correctional treatment and supervision programs Whether to continue offering a program if it is successful Whether to discontinue a program because it fails to meet a need in the community How to alter a program to make it more useful to participants (Continuous quality improvement) – What are the limitations of the program? How can these limitations be addressed?

8 Program Evaluation Important questions about program implementation: – Is a program implemented as planned? Deviations from the original plan of a program may have harmful effects or may result in no or minimal benefit. – What are the outcomes of a program? Reduction of criminogenic needs Increased public safety (reduction of recidivism rates)

9 Program Evaluation Important question about resource utilization: – What programs produce the most favorable outcomes? When programs are equally effective with this type of client with this type of problem in this type of setting, the least expensive program may be selected.

10 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Common types of program evaluation

11 Program Evaluation Different types 1.Need Evaluation 2.Implementation Evaluation 3.Outcome Evaluation 4.Cost-effectiveness Analysis

12 Need Evaluation Basic first step that precedes program planning and implementation Goal – To identify and measure critical unmet needs within a community Nature and magnitude of social, psychological, and behavioral problems Community-based resources and services already available to address the problems

13 Implementation Evaluation After a program has been developed and begun – What parts of the program have been implemented or not – What are barriers to implementation – Who is being served by the program – Match between program implementation and program plan

14 Outcome Evaluation After satisfactory assessment of program implementation – Different levels of complexity: Are program participants performing or functioning better ? Are program participants performing or functioning better than those not receiving the services? Does the program cause a positive change in the performance or functioning of the participants? (Causal relationships are more difficult to establish)

15 Cost-effectiveness Analysis After it has been established that a program has been implemented effectively with good outcomes – Cost-effectiveness analysis answers the question of efficiency. A successful program that requires a large amount of resources may not be a viable option. Among the programs that have a similar positive impact on a specific social and behavioral problem, which ones cost less? – Only compare programs that are designed to achieve the same outcomes with the same group of clients

16 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Resources

17 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Guide to Evaluation Primers – = =18657 W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Evaluation Handbook – center/resources/2010/W-K-Kellogg- Foundation-Evaluation-Handbook.aspx center/resources/2010/W-K-Kellogg- Foundation-Evaluation-Handbook.aspx

18 Resources The Evaluation Exchange periodical, Harvard University – evaluation-exchange/overview evaluation-exchange/overview Center for Disease Control’s Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health – m m

19 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Integrating program evaluation with routine practices: The importance of ongoing data collection

20 Integrating evaluation into routine practices Program evaluation as a part of program management – Requires the consistent, ongoing collection and analysis of information that will inform program decision making Detailed description of the program (target population; problem to be addressed; goals and objectives; program activities; mechanisms of change) After determining which questions you would like to answer about a specified program, identify what information you will need to answer these questions Develop a plan for collecting the information – Collect the information from multiple sources and perspectives (clients, staff, documents, observations)

21 Data Gathering CEBP recommendations (2009) – Basic data elements necessary to perform program outcome evaluations A survey of current community corrections practices in the IDOC, recommendations p. 57, Appendix B p. 71 lias=education.indiana.edu/cebp-ri lias=education.indiana.edu/cebp-ri

22 Data Gathering CEBP recommendations (2009) – Basic data elements that will help answer the question “what works?” (effects of community corrections programs) With whom? – Type and severity of problems – Human differences (age, sex, etc.) – Cultural differences Under what conditions? – Treatment dosage – Combination of services/programs

23 Data Gathering CEBP recommendations (2009) – Specification of community corrections programming Target population; problem to be addressed; goals and objectives; program activities; mechanisms of change – Effectiveness of community corrections programming Program completion rates (criteria) Measures of behavioral change (improvement in performance and functioning) Recidivism rates

24 Basic Principles of Program Evaluation Conclusions & Questions

25 Program Evaluation Essential to evaluate correctional practices – To identify practices that are useful, effective, and feasible under particular conditions – To improve programming that address the needs of community corrections clients and communities – To support accountability in community corrections Using scientific methods and knowledge to inform decisions and actions

26 Program Evaluation Common concerns about program evaluation – Belief that the evaluation will limit providers’ capacity to be flexible in their implementation of programs Flexibility within broad structure of the program – Belief that negative evaluation will result in termination of a program Will more likely inform refinement of the program – Belief that information will be misused (e.g., threat to promotion of staff) Program evaluation is distinct from individual staff assessment

27 Program Evaluation Common concerns about program evaluation – Belief that staff’s experiential knowledge will not be taken into consideration Staff’s observations constitute data that can inform questions about program implementation. – Belief that staff and administrators will no longer be able to make decisions about the way the program is offered Program evaluation provides information that staff and administrators can use to make changes in the way the program is offered to improve delivery.

28 Program Evaluation Questions & Comments


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