Process evaluations, also called formative evaluations, measure how well a program is operating as intended by assessing its operations and determining whether its target population is being served. Impact evaluations measure the program's effects and how well its goals were attained. The following resources describe the value of both approaches including their core concepts, guidelines, strategies, and techniques for implementation. State and local examples are included.
Evaluation Brief: Conducting a Process Evaluation (PDF - 76 KB)
James Bell Associates (2008)
Explains the process evaluation: how it is different from an outcome evaluation, its importance, core concepts for understanding it, and the major steps for achieving a high-quality process evaluation.
How Out-of-School Time Program Quality Is Related to Adolescent Outcomes (PDF - 261 KB)
Child Trends (2010)
Examines the hypothesis that adolescents in high-quality and safe programs tend to engage in fewer risky behaviors, have greater social competency, and have better school performance than adolescents not in a program.
Child Abuse Prevention in Utah: A Process Evaluation (PDF - 380 KB)
Summarizes the qualitative process evaluation of child abuse prevention programs in Utah. Describes individual program interventions—their accomplishments, challenges, and needs. Recommendations are provided for increasing the capacity of service providers to serve families and children and facilitating further evaluation efforts.
Child Permanency Mediation Pilot Project: Multi-Site Process and Outcome Evaluation Study (PDF - 712 KB)
Colman & Ruppel (2007)
Presents the initial findings of the process and outcome evaluations of New York State's Child Permanency Mediation Pilot Project and offers recommendations for future program evaluation efforts.
Extended Follow-Up Study of Minnesota's Family Assessment Response: Final Report (PDF - 740 KB)
Institute of Applied Research & Minnesota Department of Human Services (2006)
Presents the impact and cost benefit findings of a Family Assessment Response pilot project in Minnesota. The study highlights the starting points, ongoing effects, caseworkers' views, and families' feedback on this alternative response project.
Family Team Meeting: Process, Outcome, and Impact Evaluation
American Humane Association & District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (2005)
Presents the work of an external evaluation team for the Family Team Meeting Program. In the District of Columbia the team authorized an extension of time (from 24 hours to 72 hours) between removal of a child from the home and the court hearing regarding that removal. The report discusses the evaluation's methodology and results, and provides recommendations.
Helping Former Foster Youth Graduate From College: Campus Support Programs in California and Washington State
Dworsky & Pérez (2009)
Outlines an impact evaluation that examined program implementation for campus support programs that provide financial, academic, and other types of support to former foster youth in California and Washington colleges.
Permanency Roundtable: Process Evaluation Report
Care Solutions, Inc., Georgia Department of Human Services, & Casey Family Programs (2009)
Shows how this collaboration addressed permanency for children who had been in foster care in Fulton and DeKalb counties for long periods of time. The report identifies barriers to permanency and outlines the development of a permanency action plan for each child, with specific steps for moving the child toward permanency. (PDF - 942 KB)
Process Evaluations: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Practitioners (PDF - 196 KB)
Practical Evaluation Methods; Part 3
Provides the basics of process evaluation—what a process evaluation is, why it is important, when it should be used, and how it can be a useful tool for out-of-school time program practitioners.
The New York State Care Coordination Pilot Project: Process and Impact Evaluation Study Findings (PDF - 504 KB)
Colman, Rees, Mitchell-Herzfeld, Weber, Skidmore, Behan et al. (2007)
Outlines the findings and impact on service delivery for nine local service providers that developed and implemented programs intended to improve the health, well-being, and permanency of children living in foster care.