Course: Fundamentals of Program Evaluation

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Course Description

Familiarizes students in different types of program evaluation, including needs assessment, formative research, process evaluation, monitoring of outputs and outcomes, impact assessment, and cost analysis. Students gain practical experience through a series of exercises involving the design of a conceptual framework, development of indicators, analysis of computerized service statistics, and development of an evaluation plan to measure impact. Covers experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental study designs, including the strengths and limitations of each.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Explain the major concepts in program evaluation:

  • Types of evaluation and their purpose
  • Levels of measurement: population-based vs. program-based
  • Sources of data
  • Study designs, including randomized control trials, and threats to validity

2. Perform skills required in conducting program evaluation:

  • Design of a conceptual framework
  • Develop objectives and indicators
  • Conduct of a focus group
  • Pretest of a communication
  • Processing of service statistics
  • Use of participatory evaluation techniques

3. Write an evaluation plan


One classic evaluation textbook is Rossi, Lipsey, and Freeman. Evaluation: A Systematic Approach. 7th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004.

It is not required reading for this class, but students intending to specialize in program evaluation may want to purchase this textbook and read relevant chapters that parallel the syllabus.

Course Requirements

Each student in the class will prepare an evaluation plan to fulfill the requirements for this class. The plan will contain four parts, each of which represents a separate assignment counting 25% toward the final grade. The topics to cover in each section are as follows:

  1. Defining the problem and describing the intervention
  2. Development of indicators
  3. Process evaluation
  4. Summative evaluation

Note: an evaluation plan does not necessarily have to conform to this outline, but we will use this outline as one approach to developing such a plan.

Students will have the option to select either a domestic program (tuberculosis control in Baltimore ) or an international program (Stop AIDS Love Life in Ghana ) for this paper. However, the four parts to the assignment must all use the same program; no switching back and forth between programs on the different parts of the assignment.