Generating New Information

This chapter explores the role of program evaluation in generating new information about community programs for youth. Evaluation and ongoing program study can provide important insights to inform program decisions. For example, evaluation can be used to ensure that programs are acceptable, assessable, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relevant according to the needs of the population being served. The desire to conduct high-quality evaluation can help program staff clarify their objectives and decide which types of evidence will be most useful in determining if these objectives have been met. Ongoing program study and evaluation can also be used by program staff, program users, and funders to track program objectives; this is typically done by establishing a system for ongoing data collection that measures the extent to which various aspects of the programs are being delivered, how are they delivered, who is providing these services, and who is receiving them. In some circles, this is referred to as reflective practice. Such information can provide very useful information to program staff to help them make changes to improve program effectiveness. And finally, program evaluation can test new or very well-developed

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