Process evaluation

Process evaluation is concerned with evidence of activity, and the quality of implementation. The questions in a process evaluation focus on how, and how well programs are implemented.

Typical process questions include:

  • Are activities being implemented as intended? If not, what has been changed and for what reasons?
  • What characteristics of the project or its implementation have enabled or hindered project goals?
  • How suitable are materials or activities for the intended participants?
  • How efficiently are resources being used? Is there any wastage?
  • What can be learnt about how to implement a program like this smoothly in similar schools?

Timing

Process evaluation is useful in the early stages of implementation, as well as periodically throughout the life of a program or project.

Process evaluation early in a program can assess initial functions and their appropriateness, investigate how well the program plans and activities are working, and provide early warning for any problems that may occur.

For existing or long-running programs, periodic process evaluation promotes ongoing efficiency and quality improvement.

Purpose

Process evaluation helps to build an understanding of the mechanisms at play in successful programs so that they can be reused and developed for other contexts.

Process evaluation is also helpful when a program fails to achieve its goals for some or all of the target population. Process evaluation helps reveal whether this was because of a failure of implementation, a design flaw in the program, or because of some external barrier in the operating environment or a combination of these and other factors.

Multiple sources

Process evaluation draws on multiple sources of evidence. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are useful in process evaluation.

  • Evidence of activity shows what has taken place. This often comes from administrative records, teaching and learning programs, correspondence and student work.
  • Evidence of process quality not only tells us what has taken place but how well it was executed.  Evidence of process quality can come from a number of sources, including participant feedback about their experiences, comparison of observed practice with recommended practice, or something not going as planned.

Follow the link below to read more about the strengths and limitations of different data types.

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