Chapter 7, “Measuring and Monitoring Program Outcomes,” aimed to answer the questions regarding the effectiveness of assessing the effects of programs on clients. An outcome refers to the condition of a target population or a state within which an intervention is expected to bring change (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004). In the use of the term outcome, there are three distinctions, such as outcome level, outcome change, and program effect. Outcome level refers to the condition of an outcome at a certain time point, while outcome change identifies the difference between outcome levels at various time points. Program effect is the term defining the section of an outcome change that can be associated with a specific program implemented.
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When identifying relevant outcomes of a program, the first step is to determine the specific results that are pertinent for measurement. For doing this, the evaluator should consider stakeholders’ perspectives on outcomes expected within a program as well as outcomes specified in the impact theory (UNDP, 2011). This theory expresses the outcomes of social programs as a part of the logical model connecting the activities involved in a program. Prior research is another important step necessary for the identification of program outcomes due to the need to understand relevant outcomes that existed previously but could have been overlooked. Unintended outcomes are also essential to consider because they have a direct influence on how the impact of a program may turn out.
In the measurement of program outcomes, it is important to note that not every outcome will have the same relevance or importance. There are several basic sources used for collecting program outcomes and include observations, standardized tests, responses to questionnaires and interviews, as well as physical measurements. The reliability of measurement refers to the extent to which it produces the same result when used repeatedly over a set period of time (Bolarinwa, 2015). The validity of the measurement is the degree to which a measurement measures what it was intended to identify (Mohajan, 2017). Sensitivity in measurement is also imperative for considering as it defines the extent to which measures’ values change.
After measuring program outcomes, the process of monitoring is put into force. Continual measurement and reporting of indicators represent the main methods of measurement (Rossi et al., 2004). The result of monitoring results in useful and inexpensive information regarding program effects and usually within a reasonable scope of time. In outcome monitoring, pitfalls can take place and represent limitations in outcome indicators, which are also valuable sources of information.
Bolarinwa, O. (2015). Principles and methods of validity and reliability testing of questionnaires used in social and health science research. Nigerian Postgraduate Medical Journal, 22(4), 1950201.
Mohajan, H. (2017). Two criteria for good measurements in research: Validity and reliability. Web.
Rossi, P., Lipsey, M., & Freeman, H. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.