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Evaluation is considered formative when it is conducted during the development or delivery of a program or product with the intention of providing feedback to improve the evaluand. Formative evaluation may also focus on program plans or designs.

Formative evaluation typically focuses on determining whether a program is unfolding as planned, identifying obstacles or unexpected opportunities, and identifying midcourse corrections that will increase the likelihood of the program's success. It is a structured way to provide program staff with feedback designed to fine-tune the implementation of the program, and most often it is for internal use. Because many programs are never really complete, formative evaluation may be the primary mode of evaluation and can be critical to the development of information systems that provide continual feedback ...

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