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PME 828 – Conducting Quality Program Evaluations

Program personnel plan and implement programs as a way to address the needs of intended users and their communities. These needs may be rooted in learning, recreation, behaviour, culture and health and well-being to name a few. Programs are often spearheaded by individual champions or working groups. Their focus is typically on program activities and the challenge of implementation. Rarely do they plan to learn, in any systematic way, about program design, about how the program is working or about how it could be improved following implementation.  This is an issue especially when data-informed decisions have to be made about whether programs should be supported, expanded, downsized or allowed to end.

The overall learning objectives for PME 828 are to:

  • Understand the history and purposes of educational evaluation 
  • Understand the factors and practices that contribute to a quality evaluation
  • Understand current models of evaluation and the needs they serve 
  • Make decisions that lead to a defensible design for systematic evaluative inquiry
  • Collect data about program processes, stakeholder  learning or performance and accurately interpret their meaning.Make appropriate judgments about the meaning of evaluation findings
  • Critique (using current literature and principles of evaluative inquiry examined in GDPI 802) the purposes, processes and methods proposed for evaluating a program
  • Take leadership in promoting effective evidence-informed program decision-making 
  • Report effectively to program or  organizational stakeholders what could be learned through evaluation activities 
  • Take leadership in promoting evidence-informed program and policy decision-making 
  • Mentor colleagues interested in learning more about their programs
  • Be able to argue the strengths and limitations of evidence-informed decision making 

Course is offered in:
Professional Master of Education, Faculty of Education, Queen’s University

Course authors: Drs. Lyn Shulha, Michelle Searle, Chi Yan Lam

Sessions Taught: Winter 2020, Winter 2019, Winter 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017

By Chi Yan Lam

Dr. Chi Yan Lam is a Credentialed Evaluator and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of evaluation at the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University; he is also a full-time evaluator practicing in public service. He specializes in evaluating large-scale, complex programs and incorporates multi-, mixed- and design methods in his evaluations to answer questions of importance to program administrators and policy makers working on educational and social programs. His articles on evaluation have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Evaluation and the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. He has been a holder of the professional designation in evaluation since 2014.

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