Leaders of an environmental education group recognized the need to document their participants’ outcomes, after a long reliance on anecdotal evidence. There were many challenges: None of the staff possessed evaluation experience, some resisted the notion of “testing” participants, the program’s remote site had poor access to technology, and it would be impractical to evaluate all the program’s participants. Assistance was sought to develop the group’s first internal program evaluation system. The project involved designing and piloting a pre-/post-questionnaire along with feasible sampling, data collection and analytical methods.
“This project was a good first step for us. We learned a lot about the organizational capacity needed for evaluation. It helped staff better understand what evaluation is and why we need to do it. The preliminary survey findings will help reduce staff resistance to data collection.”—Tracey Weiss, Executive Director, Exploring New Horizons