In the program evaluation chapter, Program planning, design and evaluation must be aligned with the program goals. Each program is initiated with programs goals and objectives. Therefore, whenever a program is being monitored, it is examined in terms of its potential of achieving the goals of the program. Programs goals are developed before the program is initiated to serve as targets and provide direction on what should be done to reach the goals. Most program evaluators focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the programs. This part to me means that program evaluators must determine the degree to which the programs serve the needs. Whether the program goals are behaviors change, quality of life improvement or a general change in attitudes, programs must be evaluated in term of how much improvement the programs have achieved. It is therefore important to ensure that research is appropriately designed to measure the desired outcomes. Validity and reliability are two important factors that must be taken into consideration during program valuation. In most cases, programs evaluation is marred by bias and conflicts of interest. Programs evaluators must be objective in their approach to get a fair view of the program.
Needs, costs, and outcomes are usually the most commonly used metrics for measuring program effectiveness. However, it is difficult to measure their dimension if there is not adequate data to evaluate this. This part states that data collection should be the most important part of program evaluation in that data can provide wrong signals if not properly collected or if the design of the data collection instrument is not aligned with the objectives. For example, a project may meet the needs of the stakeholders but it might be above the budget.
To me, I think the program evaluators have to ensure that no competing goals are given primacy over the others. For example, cost measurement should be given many considerations over the needs of the stakeholder or the general outcomes. This part of the reading means to me that the program management must evaluate the program to determine if they need to change strategy because the evolution results should guide strategic thinking, design and implementation of the program. I also feel that there is need for the program ream to evaluate resource usage, allocate and reallocate resources based on the programs outcomes.
As I conclude, I learned from the chapter that programs evaluation stems from program planning and must also involve program monitoring. While programs evaluation is mainly concerned with the outcomes of the program, it is also important to determine how the programs can be improved to make it more useful to the stakeholders. Incremental programs effectiveness improvement can help in identifying better methods or solutions to the problems that the program aimed to address.
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