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What are evaluations?
Here, we mean the systematic investigation of the merit, worth, or significance of an object or effort. Evaluations involve carefully collecting information about a strategy or program in order to make necessary decisions about it. Evaluations can include a variety of at least 35 different types of evaluation, such as for needs assessments, accreditation, cost/benefit analysis, effectiveness, efficiency, formative, summative, goal-based, process, outcomes, etc.
Why are evaluations useful?
Evaluation may be used to generate information to improve a framework or program; this type is described as formative evaluation. Evaluation also supports “evidence-informed” decisions about how to improve program management. In addition, using evaluation for program improvement may promote a spirit of inquiry among program personnel, those most intimate with program function and the effects of policy. The opportunity to contribute to further success of a program may improve employee morale and their commitment to an organization.
Evaluation may also be conducted to show accountability and to provide information about program effectiveness to decision makers; this type is described as summative evaluation. Program evaluation serves an important role to interpret trends that are revealed through statistical analysis and to examine program implementation.
Outcome measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of campus services are critical elements to understanding the needs of a student population and improving related programs and services.
When to evaluate?
As soon as possible! Ideally, the prospect of evaluating a framework or program should be integrated into its conception. When strategies are adopted on campus, being able to evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies should be part of the planning process. A simple pre-mid-post measurement design is useful in most cases to showcase whether a framework or program has had an effect on campus.
Evaluation Capacity Toolkit
If your campus is interested in evaluating the programs and services they are offering, please have a look at our new Evaluation Capacity Toolkit. The toolkit can be found here:https://campusmentalhealth.ca/toolkits/evaluation/
Did You Know?
The quality of life of people with complex mental health issues can be improved by evaluating services to determine what works & by ensuring that the results are applied to systems of care. Visit our Evaluation Capacity Toolkit.