Evaluation has at its root the word value. Program evaluation is the part of the evaluation field that determines the merit or worth of a program. A program is a set of planned activities designed to reach a predetermined goal—for instance, to encourage employees in a company to begin and maintain an exercise program or to discourage teenagers from beginning to smoke. Program evaluation consists of the activities that determine the value, merit, or worth of the program—whether the program activities are making a difference and accomplishing the program's goal (outcomes). The question may be asked, ‘Why evaluate?’ Evaluation is the process that allows decision makers to determine whether programs are making a difference and to identify changes that may be necessary for success. It ...

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