How to Evaluate Your Truancy Reduction Program


National Center for School Engagement September 2005

An initiative of the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children 303 E. 17th Avenue, Suite 400 Denver, CO 80203 303/837-8466

How to Evaluate Your Truancy Reduction Program
Plan Ahead
o It is best to plan for evaluation at the same time that you design your program. o Set aside money for evaluation in your initial budget application. o Do not give up on evaluation if you did not plan it at the beginning. Start now!

Create a Logic Model of Your Program
o Decide what outcome(s) you want. Some possibilities are improved attendance school-wide; improved attendance among participating students; improved grades among participating students; increased feelings of attachment to school among participating students, or their families, or the student body in general. o What program components will be most likely to achieve your goals? o Be sure your program components and your designated outcomes match. In other words, if all your interventions are aimed at a small subset of students with serious attendance problems, you may not see measurable outcomes across the entire student body. But that will not mean that your program is not working – it means your evaluation is not well designed.

Know What Kind of Evaluation You Need
o Process evaluation, also known as implementation evaluation, looks at the way in which a program is set up and is operating. It is particularly relevant when an established program already shown to be effective is being copied in a new location. Unless the program is implemented as intended, one cannot expect to achieve the same good results. Process evaluation lends itself to both qualitative and quantitative data collection. o Outcome evaluation measures the effects of a program once it has been established. A program will not likely be ready for an outcome evaluation until it has been in operation for some...