Using Common Evaluation Instruments Across Multi-State Community Programs: a Pilot Study

Introduction

There is an increasingly competitive environment for funding community programs, and this case study looks at how Extension programs are evaluated across four states to establish a set of standards for measuring common elements among programs with regard to impact, participation, and accountability. This study looks at seven programs with similar goals and determines the common elements for evaluation and reporting. The rationale for using common measures are the following:

  1. Secure and maintain scarce or limited funding from various sources
  2. Develop or impact legislation or policy
  3. increase accountability to funders and participants
  4. Assist in the improvement of decision making tasks for program development/impelementation/effectiveness
  5. improve the quality of programs evaluations by using reliable and valid instruments
HD Keywords: 

Methods, Tools, and Data

The data collection and analysis was conducted with a pre-survey and post-survey administered by the individual programs and sent to the evaluation team at Arizona State University. Complete tables and explanations can be found in the study published by the Journal of Extension.

Related Methods

Social assessment is a method of data collection and analysis used to characterize the social environment in the area in which one manages (e.g., watershed, protected area). Social impact assessment is used to predict impacts related to implementation of management resources or policy changes.
A standardized list of questions that may be administered formally or informally by mail, telephone, Internet, or in person to collect specific information from multiple individuals.

Discussion of Results

It is indicated from this pilot study that using common evaluation measures is a viable method for evaluating impacts for youth citizenship programs. A complete justification can be read in the article.