Program evaluation is essential to ensure continued success in delivering the program and achieving its goals. Basic elements that should be included in an evaluation are:

  1. Determining the outcomes of the specific program and/or the degree of participant satisfaction with the program.
  2. Assessing the level or quality of program delivery.

Both of these are an integral part of program implementation and are necessary for determining the quality of the program and whether or not the goals of the program have been achieved.

Quantitative outcomes

Evaluating outcomes for participants in terms of changes in functional health behaviors involves pre- and post-assessment of select functional health behaviors using specific performance measures.

Assessing participants’ knowledge and changes in certain specified functional health behaviors before and after participation in the program is the best indication of whether or not the program has been beneficial to participants. Many evidence-based programs have created standard evaluation forms for the purpose of measuring outcomes.

Qualitative outcomes

Evaluation of the qualitative aspects is also critical to ensure that program benefits are achieved and standards maintained. Three aspects of program quality are important to evaluate:

  • Was the program content and delivery of that content well-received by the participants? (Participant Satisfaction)
  • Did the delivery of content faithfully follow the outline and content of the program as specified in the program materials? (Fidelity)
  • Was the presentation of program content professional and easily understood?

Typically, participant satisfaction is assessed using a short survey that allows participants to respond to framed questions, as well as comment on their reactions to the program in an open-ended format.

The other qualitative aspects of the program are assessed through periodic monitoring of the content presented to participants and evaluation of the quality of the presentation of that content. The monitoring of these aspects of the program are completed by individuals who are experienced in either having delivered the program content themselves or who are trained and knowledgeable about program content and how it should be presented, such as Master Trainers.

Resources to help with evaluation

Developing an Evaluation Plan

Community Tool Box, Chapter 36, provides information about why, when, and how to develop an evaluation plan.

SAMSHA Evaluation Course

This course provides a basic overview of program evaluation and guidance on how to plan, conduct, and manage an evaluation.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Summary of Research Findings

This document provides a summary of state and national translational research studies that demonstrate the health benefits of CDSMP. The studies show that participation in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program workshop can positively influence the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s “Triple Aim” of better health, better care, and lower cost.