rlf5 - Expressing and Assessing Program Theory Required...

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Unformatted text preview: Expressing and Assessing Program Theory Required reading: RLF, Chapter 5. The focus in this chapter is on the second of the five evaluation domains in the RLF evaluation framework or model (needs assessment, program theory assessment , implementation assessment, impact assessment, and efficiency assessment). Before you can assess a program theory (or program logic or program conceptualization), however, you must figure out exactly what the program theory is—that is, you must articulate the program theory ; you must make it explicit, so that it can be examined and evaluated. Typically, a program theory will be implicit , at best. That’s why the evaluator must understand how to articulate an implicit theory or conceptualization of how the program is intended to operate. Program theory (like needs assessment) is very important, because it is foundational for later types of evaluation in the RLF model (i.e., implementation assessment, impact assessment, and efficiency assessment). Now I will provide some comments about each of the major sections of the chapter: • The Evaluability Assessment Perspective. • Describing Program Theory. • Eliciting Program Theory. • Assessing Program Theory. • Possible Outcomes of Program Theory Assessment The Evaluability Assessment Perspective RLF trace the origin of theory-driven evaluation to Joseph Wholey’s (1970s) writings on evaluability assessment. Joseph Wholey is an important evaluation theorist , so you should try to remember his name as well as his ideas. By the way, the first author of your textbook (Peter Rossi) and one of his students Huey Chen were also very important in getting the theory-driven evaluation movement started (e.g., see Chen and Rossi’s 1983 article, “Evaluating with sense: The theory-driven approach” in Evaluation Review, 7 , 283-302.) Also, the second author of RLF (Mark Lipsey), who joined the authors in the 6 th edition of your book, is a major advocate of theory-driven evaluation and has written extensively on the topic (one of my favorite Lipsey writings is Theory as Method: Small Theories of Treatments, 1993, in New Directions for Program Evaluation, no. 57 , pp. 5-38). Getting back to Joseph Wholey. Wholey was one of the most important evaluators working with the federal government during the 1960s and 1970s. It is during this time that he first developed the concept of evaluability assessment. Here are three definitions of evaluability assessment : 1. Assessing whether the program is ready to be managed for results, what changes are needed to do so, and whether the evaluation would contribute to improved program performance (from Foundations of program evaluation , 1991, Sage Pub.) 2. Negotiation and investigation undertaken jointly by the evaluator, the evaluation sponsor, and possibly other stakeholders to determine whether a program meets the preconditions for evaluation and, if so, how the evaluation should be designed to ensure maximum utility (from RLF, p.168).p....
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This note was uploaded on 07/26/2011 for the course EDE 4942 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of Florida.

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rlf5 - Expressing and Assessing Program Theory Required...

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