Of the evaluation methods identified in the Arnold School of Public Health’s video “Types of Evaluation,” I am more familiar with Process and Impact Evaluation in the classroom setting. Outcome Evaluation of long term goals is more difficult for a classroom teacher, but this difficulty is not sufficient as a deterrent to pursuing evaluative methods for programs in that space.
My analysis will consist of: identifying the main elements of two of the three evaluative procedures, Process and Outcome Evaluations; identifying similarities and differences between the two; then I will use a hypothetical new reading program as an example for how each of these evaluation methods would be used by a classroom teacher.
Process Evaluation: this is used in the early stages of a program to assess initial operation and implementation of the program: how was the program introduced, how services were delivered to the program group, and how closely the program is following the plan. Evaluating and documenting the early process of a program will allow others to repeat the program should it produce desirable outcomes.
Outcome Evaluation: this process focuses on the long term goals and outcomes of a program or intervention. Outcome Evaluations ask “was this program or intervention effective in producing a desirable change?” One drawback to Outcome Evaluations is that the program goals are not always achieved within the duration of the project. Should a program be successful in achieving its long term goals, evaluators need to find ways of identifying early markers for long term success – so that the program or intervention can be repeated as desired.
The key similarities between the two methods identified are that they are used to evaluate the program’s efficacy and to inform future implementation of programs with similar desired outcomes. The principal difference is that of time frame and period of evaluation, with Process Evaluation occurring early in the program’s implementation and Outcome Evaluation taking place after the program has concluded.
Example: Our hypothetical reading intervention requires full student participation for each school day, consisting of: twenty minutes of sustained silent reading and ten minutes of reflection (oral, written, or visual). The program goal is to increase each student’s reading ability by two “grade levels” by the end of the year.
In this example, Process Evaluation questions would be: Do all students and teachers understand the expectations? Are students able to sustain twenty minutes of silent reading? What types of reflection do the students prefer? How do students rate their engagement level in the program?
Outcome Evaluation would require an early benchmark of each student’s reading level, and another assessment of their reading level at the end of the year. Outcome Evaluation questions asked would be: Did the program succeed in helping students increase their reading levels? Were students who preferred one particular reflection method more successful than students who preferred another one? What did the participants feel was most responsible for their success or failure?