The need for quality evaluation is more integral to the mission, success, and continued survival of the cooperative Extension system than ever.
The heart of our work in Extension is to take research-based knowledge to the people of Ohio, with the intent of strengthening lives and creating positive changes.
But how do we KNOW that "positive change" has happened? What constitutes "positive change"?
When designing our program curriculum, we must consider WHAT measure(s)/indicator(s) would demonstrate change and prove our program successfully acheived predetermined goals and outcomes. We must plan to evaluate (evidence + judgement = evalution). Therefore, evaluation should NOT be an afterthought, but a necessary and inextricable part of the program development process.
The Journal of Human Sciences and Extension (access the journal here) released a special issue (Volume 3, Number 2, June 2015) (access the page for all articles in this issue here) on "The Cooperative Extension Program Development Model," which examines issues and topics related to program development and evaluation. The issue features 10 articles. Brief summaries of the articles are listed below, as well as links to the individual articles, and the entire issue.
Article 1: an introduction to the use of program development models
Title: The Cooperative Extension Program Development Model: Adapting to a Changing Context
Article 2: using the program development model to achieve public value success
Title: Programming for the Public Good: Ensuring Public Value Through the Cooperative Extension Program Development Model
Article 3: a history of needs assessments; implications for future Extension needs assessments
Title: Solving Problems, Ensuring Relevance, and Facilitating Change: The Evolution of Needs Assessments Within Cooperative Extension
Article 4: the implications of umbrella program models
Title: Connecting the Dots: Improving Extension Program Planning with Program Umbrella Models
Article 5: successful Extension program implementation
Title: Factors Impacting Program Delivery: The Importance of Implementation Research in Extension
Article 6: history of evaluation and challenges for the future of evaluation in Extension
Title: From Farm Results Demonstrations to Multistate Impact Designs: Cooperative Extension Navigates its Way Through Evaluation Pathways
Article 7: stakeholder engagement efforts
Title: Extension Stakeholder Engagement: An Exploration of Two Cases Exemplifying 21st Century Adaptations
Article 8: importance of professional development for Extension professionals related to program development
Title: Developing Extension Professionals to Develop Extension Programs: A Case Study for the Changing Face of Extension
Article 9: need to align Extension program development model with community-university engagement models
Title: Cooperative Extension Program Development and the Community-University Engagement Movement: Perspectives from Two Lifelong Extension Professionals
Article 10: recommendations for the evolution of Extension program development model
Title: Looking Ahead: Envisioning the Future of Extension Program Development Model
What gets measured gets done.
If you don't measure results, you can't tell success from failure.
Reinventing Government, Osborne and Gaebler, 1992