Evaluability Assessment

Eval Product

Purpose and Value

An evaluability assessment helps determine if it is possible to evaluate a program, and what steps would be necessary in order to design and implement a program that is ready for an evaluation. Using the evaluability assessment would prevent expending resources prematurely or inappropriately, and it would help guide decisions on the level, worth, and usefulness of further evaluations. Another result of an evaluability assessment is that it could outline ways to strengthen or improve the program before the next level of evaluation began. Finally, it would help build consensus on program outcomes among program implementers, program staff, decision makers within the organization, partners, and funders.

Conducting an evaluability assessment is consistent with the Utilization-Focused Evaluation (U-FE) approach, as U-FE focuses on the need for involvement of stakeholders in the project development and evaluation process to ensure that the evaluation is useful (Patton, 2008).

The evaluability assessment methodology that Via Evaluation draws from is based on several sources. It is based on the original article by Wholey (2004) and then later work in the field as reported by the Center for Disease Control as presented in their many Synthesis Reports, such as the Barnes, et al 2009 report: Early Assessment of Programs and Policies to Prevent Childhood Obesity Evaluability Assessment Synthesis Report: Local Wellness Policy. In the Synthesis Reports, the CDC outlines their “real world” approach to evaluability assessment.

Assessment Deliverable

Via Evaluation evaluators will help guide the program staff in creating a user-friendly logic model so that the program can be adjusted to ensure implementation and results envisioned by all involved. Through the development of a logic model, essential questions about the program will be answered, including:

  • Does the program have an appropriate design and realistic, achievable goals?
  • Is the program being implemented as intended and in a way that is appropriate, given the program design?
  • Is there a feasible data collection design, and are data available for collection?
  • What evaluation approaches are most suitable to judge the program’s performance?
  • Who are the intended users of the evaluation information?
  • Recommendations for next steps to more fully understand and address key issues raised by the evaluability assessment.
  • Patton, M.Q. (2008). Utilization-Focused Evaluation (4th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Pitt Barnes, S., Robin, L., Dawkins, N., Leviton, L., & Kettel-Khan, L. (2009). Early Assessment of Programs and Policies to Prevent Childhood Obesity Evaluability Assessment Synthesis Report: Local Wellness Policy. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Wholey, J. S. (2004). Evaluability assessment. In J. S. Wholey, H. P. Hatry, & K. E. Newcomer, Handbook of practical program evaluation (pp. 33–62). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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