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Evaluability Assessment: Examining the Readiness of a Program for Evaluation

NCJ Number
Deborah Kaufman-Levy; Mary Poulin
Date Published
May 2003
16 pages
This document introduces program managers to the concept of "evaluability assessment," which involves determining whether a program evaluation is justified, feasible, and likely to provide useful information.
In determining whether a program is ready for evaluation, the evaluability assessment (EA) should focus on the program's design or implementation. Regarding program design, two major flaws can render a program incapable of being evaluated, i.e., no formal program design or model is in place, or the program design or model is unsound. In the EA's focus on program implementation, four questions should be answered: Does the program serve the population for whom it was designed? Does it have the resources discussed in the program design? Are the program activities being implemented as designed? Does the program have the capacity to provide data for an evaluation? One section of this document describes five tasks that must be completed in performing an EA. First, study the program history, design, and operation; second, watch the program in action; third, determine the program's capacity for data collection, management, and analysis; fourth, assess the likelihood that the program will reach its goals and objectives; and fifth, show why an evaluation will or will not help the program and its stakeholders. In the concluding section of this document, program managers are advised that they can ensure their programs are appropriate for evaluation by determining that their programs are serving those individuals and groups they intended to serve, that they are collecting relevant data in an organized and consistent fashion, that they are staffed with people who have the appropriate qualifications and knowledge, and that the program activities are being implemented as designed. If all of these components are in place, a program will most likely qualify for an evaluation. 5 references and appended sample interview questions for an EA of a juvenile justice program