This report, intended for program planners, identifies steps for evaluation and provides strategies for addressing challenges in program assessment.
Evaluation, the process of determining a program's utility or direction, is critical to program planning, budgeting, and management. Through evaluation, program planners can ascertain how well components of their program are functioning. Evaluation also provides clues as to why components may or may not work.
Evaluation aids program accountability. Managers often need to determine whether their programs are having the intended effect on participants and the community. Documenting a program's impact provides valuable information to decision-and policy-makers, such as program funders.
Finally, evaluation can aid long-term strategic planning for program managers, community leaders, and policy-makers. Carefully documented results from an evaluation provide guidance to those planning similar programs and allow programs to serve as models for other communities.
For the purposes of this publication, the terms "program manager" and "evaluator" are used interchangeably, on the assumption that program managers can capably guide and perform evaluations when funding is not sufficient to hire an outside team of evaluators.
Creating Communities for Active Aging
This guide to program evaluation is a companion to Creating Communities
for Active Aging.Managers and staff from active aging programs,
as well as
other stakeholders, indicated a need for a detailed description of