Our 7-Step Process
7 Steps to Successful Programs
Cornerstone Evaluation Associates LLC advocates a client-centered, 7-step approach to program evaluation in order to ensure effective decision-making and successful programs…
STEP 1: Setting the Foundation
Cornerstone president and associates meet with clients to learn about their programs and work collaboratively with them to clarify program goals, identify key stakeholders and formulate critical evaluation concerns.
STEP 2. Designing the Evaluation Plan
Cornerstone then produces a customized program evaluation plan that outlines all data collection and analysis activities needed to monitor program strengths and weaknesses and determine program outcomes.
STEP 3. Identifying Data Collection Strategies
Guided by this evaluation plan, Cornerstone adapts or develops instruments for collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. These instruments may include questionnaires, on-line surveys, observational checklists and protocols for focus groups, face-to-face interviews and telephone surveys.
STEP 4. Collecting and Analyzing the Data
Using these instruments, program-related data are gathered from key stakeholders and are analyzed by Cornerstone’s experts in statistical and content analysis. Findings are then represented in graphic and tabular displays.
STEP 5. Writing the Report and Making Recommendations
Graphs and tables are used as the foundation for writing a story about the program that includes highlights of program outcomes and insightful recommendations for program improvement. At this point, we ask our clients to read a draft of the evaluation report. Client feedback provides us with greater insight that we can incorporate into the document.
STEP 6. Guiding Data-Driven Decisions
If desired, a Cornerstone staff member can then guide clients in using these recommendations to make informed, data-driven decisions about their programs.
STEP 7. Creating an Informational Feedback Loop
Cornerstone continues to provide technical assistance to clients by routinely gathering new information for assessing program outcomes and making critical decisions. This repetition of the evaluation steps throughout the life of a program creates an ‘informational feedback loop’ that ensures the program’s effectiveness.
Organizations adopting this 7-step approach for evaluating programs are better prepared to make periodic improvements that ensure positive outcomes. Successful programs created in this way not only benefit participants, but also attract funding dollars. By using this approach, organizations maintain their competitive edge by ensuring program quality.