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Appendix C - Developing Evaluation Questions

The development of evaluation questions is a key part of the development of the evaluation plan. Evaluation questions define the purpose of the evaluation in response to improvement efforts.  Generally the developing evaluation questions follow several steps.

Identifying key stakeholders and audiences

Formulating potential evaluation questions of interest to the stakeholders and audiences

Defining outcomes in measurable terms

Prioritizing and eliminating questions

Evaluation questions will vary depending on the phase of the program development, particular local circumstances, and the ultimate purpose of the evaluation.  Some key issues you may consider in developing evaluation questions are:

What do you want your program/unit/project to accomplish?

How will you know if your have met your mission and reached your program/unit/project outcomes?

What activities will your program/unit/project take to accomplish your goals?

What factors might help or hinder your ability to accomplish your goals?

What will you want to tell others who are interested in your program/unit/project?

Some characteristics of good evaluation questions:  

They are specific.

They are measurable.

They are answerable.

They are realistic and reasonable (they do not state grandiose goals).

They are appropriate to the local needs.

At a secondary level, they can contribute to knowledge development (beyond the specific program).

Evaluation questions can be developed for both formative and summative evaluation.  For formative program evaluation questions you may be looking at issues such as:

Was training provided as planned?

Are instructors receiving the training as intended?

Are instructors employing the instructional strategies taught in training and integrating technology in the classroom?

Were new instructional techniques and strategies incorporated into instructional delivery?

Summative evaluation questions focus on the outcome and impact of the program/unit/project.  Examples of summative evaluation question follows:

Did students develop an understanding of foundational science concepts?

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