Program evaluation is defined as the systematic study of services, interventions, programs, and policies designed to improve the lives of individuals, children, families, and communities. A type of applied research, program evaluation efforts utilize qualitative and quantitative research methods and a variety of research designs including descriptive strategies, case studies, and quasi-experimental and randomized experimental designs. The goal is to collect, analyze, interpret, and report information about service delivery efforts or policies. This entry discusses the history of early childhood program evaluation efforts, approaches utilized in evaluating programs, and the reasons for conducting program evaluations.

The purposes of program evaluations may differ. Some evaluations focus on an examination of program processes or formative evaluation questions. Evaluations of this type may examine a variety of questions including ...

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