Process C. Co-Create an Evaluation Plan

Environmental education programs serve many purposes, so gaining clarity on your reasons for evaluating a program informs how you will design and conduct the evaluation. Partners and funders may have different interests and questions about an environmental education program. Through the process of engaging diverse voices, you will likely generate many potential evaluation questions, often more than you have resources to pursue. Therefore, it is also important to work with partners to prioritize the evaluation purposes and questions to arrive at a plan that is appropriate for the program, partners, and context. To honor the eeVAL value of equity in motion, continually examine power dynamics and whose experiences and voices are elevated (or not) by the purpose and questions being posed.

eeVAL Tips to Co-create an Evaluation Plan

C1. Define the Evaluation Purpose

TCollaborate with program participants and partners to define and understand the reasons for evaluating your program. Bring a spirit of curiosity and engage a variety of perspectives to understand how the evaluation may affect or be affected by staff members, program participants, and members of the broader community.

Evaluations can serve one or more purposes. To learn more about different evaluation purposes, explore terms like formative evaluation, front-end evaluation, process evaluation, summative evaluation, outcome evaluation, and utilization-focused evaluation described in the glossary.

C2. Prioritize Evaluation Questions

Collaborate with program partners and participants to brainstorm and then prioritize your evaluation’s key guiding questions. Evaluation questions are used to guide your evaluation process. They serve as a compass for what will be included (and omitted) in the evaluation. When crafting questions, consider what information may be used to answer them. Expect that the conversations may not be easy ones; the process will require time and holding the eeVAL value of an ongoing journey.

C3. Reflect on and Refine Evaluation Questions

Revisit and refine your questions as you design the evaluation, as they may need to be adjusted based on the time and resources available to you and partners, and the needs of your participants.

C4. Consider Available Resources

Plan your evaluation in light of the resources available to you and your partners, such as staff time, evaluation experiences, funding, and the evaluation purpose. Evaluations take time and resources; efforts to center eeVAL values often add to the time and resources required. This additional investment, however, contributes to stronger programs and more equitable outcomes.

C5. Consider Shared Learning

Reach out to organizations implementing programs similar to yours. Explore commonalities in your program model, such as strategies, activities, and outcomes. Identify opportunities to pool resources and learn from one another.

Key Resources

Consult these resources that support the Purpose of Evaluation:

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Children observe bugs

Explore the Values

We encourage you to investigate how each value is incorporated into the evaluation process.

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Bamboo forest

Explore the Evaluation Process

Investigate how the core values can be applied to create more just evaluation processes.