Outcome Evaluation

Gomby and Larson (1992) describe the outcome evaluation of school-linked services:

"The primary motivation for creating and funding school-linked service efforts is to accomplish specific student-related goals. Examples of these goals include improvement of academic performance or reduction of problems such as drug use or teen pregnancy. In contrast to process evaluation, an outcome--or summative--evaluation determines whether the services that were provided to and used by students led to the desired changes in the participating students. Typically more complex and expensive than a process evaluation, an outcome evaluation can be undertaken only if (1) there is a clear statement about what changes are expected, (2) appropriate measures are selected for tracking such change, and (3) a mechanism is established to collect reliable data about these outcomes." (p. 71)

"The purpose of an outcome evaluation is not only to measure changes in outcomes but to establish that the intervention (that is, the school-linked service program) caused the changes....The most crucial decisions in an evaluation to establish causation involve its design--that is, the decisions about what will be measured and when those assessments will occur. Only an evaluation with a rigorous design can establish causal links between the intervention and the observed outcomes." (p. 71)


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