Week 6: Program Evaluation: What, Why, and How
Most agencies prepare an annual report that includes the number of services or units of service provided, the number of individuals served, and information about demographics of the population served. This is generally accompanied by a budget summary, which includes sources and amounts of income and categories of expenses. In the past, that might have been adequate information to satisfy the public and funders, but today, stakeholders are demanding greater accountability for measurable results.
Program evaluations can provide insights into questions that such reports leave unanswered. As a social worker, you may be asked to play a role in a program evaluation. You should understand the nature and purpose of program evaluations and how they contribute to better social work practice. Then, you can reap the full benefit of such evaluations and adequately address the concerns of stakeholders.
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This week, you analyze the benefits of two types of program evaluations, process, and outcome evaluations. You also analyze stakeholder concerns about evaluation. Finally, you recommend a program evaluation model and plan a program evaluation.
- Analyze program evaluation models
- Analyze stakeholder concerns about program evaluation
- Create a program evaluation plan
Dudley, J. R. (2020). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.) Oxford University Press.
- Chapter 1, “Evaluation and Social Work: Making the Connection” (pp. 3–26)
- Chapter 4, “Common Types of Evaluations” (pp. 78-95)
- Chapter 5, “Focusing an Evaluation” (pp. 96-110)
- K. Kellogg Foundation. (2017). The step-by-step guide to evaluation: How to become savvy evaluation consumers. Retrieved from https://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resources/2017/11/the-step-by-step-guide-to-evaluation–how-to-become-savvy-evaluation-consumers
- Chapter 4, “Overview of the Evaluation Process That Reflects Evaluation Thinking”
- Chapter 5, “Preparing for the Evaluation”
- Chapter 6, “Determine Stakeholders and Engage Them in Evaluation”
- Chapter 7, “Developing a Logic Model, Evaluation Questions, “Measurement Framework, and Evaluation Plan”
- Chapter 8, “Data Collection and Analysis”
- Chapter 9, “Summarize, Communicate and Reflection on Evaluation Findings”
Discussion: Program Evaluation: Benefits and Concerns of Stakeholders
Dudley (2020) points out that social work practice is usually embedded in programs. While you looked at practice evaluation using single-subject design in Week 3, this week, you shift focus to program evaluation. Program evaluation serves many purposes, including accountability to funders and to the public. Often, funding sources such as government agencies or private foundations requires periodic program evaluations. These evaluations can help provide answers to many different questions, and can contribute to improvement of services. There are a variety of program evaluation models that are appropriate for addressing different questions as well as facilitating the collection and analysis of many different types of data.
To prepare for this Discussion, identify a program within an agency with which you are familiar, which could benefit from process evaluation and outcome evaluation. You do not need to identify the agency in your post. Also, review the different evaluation models highlighted in this week’s resources (needs assessment, program monitoring, client satisfaction study, outcome evaluation, or cost benefit study).
The program we will utilize for this discussion is the Client Transportation Program at an agency whose clients have mental health conditions and substance use disorder. The agency picks up client in the morning around 7:30am to bring them to the agency for Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) group and counseling services. Transportation then returns the clients to the sober living houses after group. Client are required to visit with their counselors and therapists after IOP group on a regularly scheduled basis. Client’s who remain in the building for services are often not sure how and when they will return to their sober living houses because transportation is out returning the other clients. Evaluating and improving this process would benefit the client as they would have a scheduled transportation appointment and reduce the stress on the clients and agency staff as client’s currently feel rushed to complete their counseling sessions to not miss their transpirtation.
Provide a 500-word Discussion Post a brief summary of the program that you selected.
- Recommend a program evaluation model that would answer a question relevant to the program.
- Explain the potential benefits of the program evaluation that you proposed (both process and outcome).
- Identify 2–3 concerns that stakeholders might have about your proposed evaluation and how you would address those concerns.
- Then explain 2–3 concerns that stakeholders may have about your proposed program evaluation and how you would address those concerns.
This paper must contain at least 3 references from the about list “Required Readings” materials