There are many different kinds of evaluation. Below we briefly explain performance monitoring, process evaluation, and outcome evaluation. A program evaluation must be tailored to the specific program in question – it can therefore be difficult to find resources that are relevant to all. These resources can offer some practical help with evaluation.
Monitoring outputs and activities involves collecting and counting service level records and data to determine:
- Who you serve (socio-demographic indicators);
- How many you serve; and
- Through how many activities of different types.
It allows you to capture and communicate basic numbers on what your program looks like in terms of the number of participants you reached, the number of activities you conducted, attendance levels, retention levels, etc. It also involves representing your inputs in a numerical way (i.e., number of staff, grant moneys, etc.).1
A process evaluation examines and reports on the overall implementation of the program (policies, procedures, strategies) and the extent to which the program was delivered as intended to the target population. A typical program evaluation would assess quantitative (numbered) and qualitative (narrative) data related to:
- Program participants;
- Program management;
- Program activities and implementation;
- Community partnerships;
- Program satisfaction; and
- Program successes, challenges and lessons learned.1
For mentoring programs in particular, an important part of a process evaluation involves assessing the quality of the mentoring relationships between program participants.3
An outcome evaluation assesses whether your efforts had the impact you intended or expected them to have. Typical outcome measures reflect changes in level of knowledge, values/attitudes/beliefs, skills, behaviours, and conditions (i.e., health conditions, employment, system involvement).1 In order to assess change, data collection tools must be administered at intake to determine a baseline (pre-intervention), and then again after certain periods of time during and/or after the intervention (i.e., post-assessment / follow-up at 6 months, 1 year, etc.).
- Wholey, J.S., Hatry, H.P., & Newcomer, K.E. (2010). Handbook of practical program evaluation (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Bania, M. (2015). Evaluation of mentoring programs. Presentation for the Ontario Mentoring Coalition, Toronto, ON, February 2015.
- MENTOR. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring, 4th ed. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Final_Elements_Publication_Fourth.pdf