We have composed a list of some of the most common terms that are used by evaluators. Having some understanding of these terms will help you as you start to explore program evaluation.
Accountability – responsibility to ensure program effectiveness and meeting specific requirements (for example, services, legal, and fiscal requirements).
Accuracy – extent to which an evaluation is truthful or valid in what it says about a program.
Activities – actual events or action that take place as part of the program.
Aim – Purpose or anticipated outcome that guides the planned actions
Baseline data – the initial information collected about the condition or performance of the subjects prior to the implementation of a program.
Bias – a point of view that inhibits objectivity.
Efficacy – the performance of an intervention under ideal and controlled circumstances
Effectiveness – the performance of an intervention under 'real-world' conditions
Evaluation design – the logical model or conceptual framework used to arrive at conclusions about outcomes.
Evaluation plan – written document describing the overall approach or design that will be used to guide the evaluation plan.
Goal – ultimate reason for undertaking the project or program
Impact – positive or negative, desirable or undesirable, primary or secondary long-term effects produced by a program which can be direct, indirect, intended or unintended.
Indicator – pre-defined variable which helps identify direct or indirect differences in quality and/or quantity within a period of time.
Input – any resource that is put into a program to carry out an activity.
Logic model – a systematic and visual way to present the perceived relationships among the resources you have to operate the program, the activities you plan to do and changes or results you hope to see.
Objectives – planned areas of activity by which a program is to achieve its aims. These are often list of activities to be completed in a specific time period.
Objectivity – observations that do not involve personal feelings and are based on observable facts.
Stakeholders – agencies, organizations, institutions, groups and individuals who influence the program
Sustainability – process of continued existence of benefits from a program after the concrete implementation has been completed.
Target group/population – individuals or groups that a program is targeting with its intervention.
Theory of change – a set of assumptions about how and why desired change is most likely to occur as a result of the program based on past research or existing theories of behavior and development. Defines the evidence-based strategies or approaches proven to address a particular problem. Forms the basis for logic model planning
Types of evaluation:
- Formative evaluation ensures that a program or program activity is feasible, appropriate, and acceptable before it is fully implemented. It is usually conducted when a new program or activity is being developed or when an existing one is being adapted or modified.
- Process/implementation evaluation determines whether program activities have been implemented as intended.
- Outcome/effectiveness evaluation measures program effects in the target population by assessing the progress in the outcomes or outcome objectives that the program is designed to achieve.
- Impact evaluation assesses program effectiveness in achieving its ultimate goals.
Sources: https://class.csuohio.edu/sites/csuohio.edu.class/files/EvaluationTermi…; https://www.cdc.gov/eval/guide/glossary/index.htm; https://www.sportanddev.org/en/toolkit/monitoring-and-evaluation/glossa…; https://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=53