This course emphasizes the use of mixed method performance and summative evaluation designs that measure progress, outcomes, and impact. Students learn to differentiate performance and impact evaluations, including the data designs needed to support each. The course introduces different performance evaluation designs, including snapshot, simple, cross-sectional, before and after, time series, and case study design; and then focuses on impact evaluation designs, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs. Students learn about different evaluation approaches, such as culturally responsive equitable evaluation, empowerment evaluation, and participatory evaluation. Students partner with organizations they identify to plan an evaluation (including its design and approach); craft theory of change and evaluation logic models; develop data collection instruments; collect and analyze data; and write an evaluation report.

Sample topics of discussion include:

  • Introduction to evaluation designs
  • Data and performance evaluations versus impact evaluations
  • Case study design
  • Snapshot design
  • One sample and cross-sectional designs
  • Time series and before and after designs

Examples of assignments and projects include:

  • American Evaluation Association membership
  • Evaluation LogFrame
  • An SOW that analyzes challenges in carrying out evaluations, such as budget, time, politics, and data ability
  • Qualitative data collection
  • A class in human subjects training to introduce research ethics

Course Outcomes

Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain processes and rationales for measuring program outputs and outcomes.
  • Be able to use performance and impact evaluation designs appropriately and effectively.
  • Identify evaluation designs that are appropriate for addressing particular evaluation needs.
  • Construct a LogFrame.
  • Construct an evaluation Statement of Work (SOW).
  • Write an evaluation report.
  • Appreciate the different uses for performance, impact, and alternative evaluation designs.
  • Serve as a reflective, critical thinker in evaluation design oversight, management, and report writing.

Click here for the official course description from the American University Catalog.

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