Often programs are established to meet one or more specific goals. These goals are often described in the original program plans.
Goal-based evaluations are evaluating the extent to which programs are meeting predetermined goals or objectives. Questions to ask yourself when designing an evaluation to see if you reached your goals, are:
1. How were the program goals (and objectives, is applicable) established? Was the process effective?
2. What is the status of the program’s progress toward achieving the goals?
3. Will the goals be achieved according to the timelines specified in the program implementation or operations plan? If not, then why?
4. Do personnel have adequate resources (money, equipment, facilities, training, etc.) to achieve the goals?
5. How should priorities be changed to put more focus on achieving the goals? (Depending on the context, this question might be viewed as a program management decision, more than an evaluation question.)
6. How should timelines be changed (be careful about making these changes – know why efforts are behind schedule before timelines are changed)?
7. How should goals be changed (be careful about making these changes – know why efforts are not achieving the goals before changing the goals)? Should any goals be added or removed? Why?
8. How should goals be established in the future?