Evaluation is the act of judging the merit, worth, value, or significance of things. In terms of out-of-school learning, what is evaluated may be a program, initiative, project, or intervention—for example, an after-school program, a statewide initiative, a robotics project, or a summer learning intervention. Evaluation of out-of-school time (OST) programs provides information for accountability, decision making at multiple levels, better understanding of what works, and demonstrating the achievements of the program.

When evaluation is formally commissioned and conducted by evaluation professionals, it relies on well-developed evaluation questions, systematically collected information (i.e., data), appropriate analytic techniques, and comprehensive, targeted reports to inform stakeholders such as funders, program managers, program participants, and community members of the achievements, challenges, gaps, decisions, participant experiences, and possible directions for ...

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