The Purpose of Measurement

Through data collection and analysis, you will learn if your program is working and how to improve it. Specifically, you will gain insight into whether you are reaching the intended target population, if your program is being implemented as planned, and if you are achieving the outcomes in your Theory of Change.

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Measurement Types and Purposes

There are two basic types of measurement (process and outcome) that can be used to meet two most basic purposes (formative and summative). The measurement types often are done in concert as they complement each other and together tell a full story of program implementation and outcomes.
Measurement types
Process measurement:
Captures details about who a program is serving and how it is being implemented, focusing on the number and characteristics of people served, number and types of services provided, and other aspects of implementing the model. Process measurement tells you if you are reaching the intended target population, if the program is being delivered as designed, and where improvements could be made.
Outcome measurement:
Captures what changed among the target population as a result of the services delivered. Outcome measurement tells you if you are making progress towards the intended results of the program. Together with process measurement results, you have the information you need to know what’s working, what could be improved, and how to communicate the value of your program.
Measurement Purposes
Formative evaluation:
An assessment conducted specifically to inform the development and improvement of a program or initiative. Formative studies draw on both process and outcome evaluation, but may be done with less rigorous (non-experimental) research designs.
Summative evaluation:
An assessment conducted to determine whether, and to what extent, a program is achieving its intended outcomes, as well as to determine how the outcomes are achieved. Summative studies are often conducted by external evaluators, involve rigorous research methodologies, and are intended to make conclusive statements about the success and merits of an effort.