Are you SMART?

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Genevieve Martínez García

The first step for designing an evaluation plan is to get a comprehensive understanding of what the program is trying to achieve and with whom. SMART objectives, as part of the program logic model, can tell us just this information. The program logic model not only lays out a plan or a map to developing a program/intervention, but it also points to the objectives of a program and what should be evaluated and measured.

Most of us are now accustomed to writing SMART objectives, but it’s always helpful to take a step back and revisit the evaluation plan. Are the objectives truly SMART? Can they be SMARTer?

A Review on SMART Objectives…

Specific – What will change and for whom? Be specific.
Measurable – Are your desired outcomes measurable? By how much will things change?
Achievable – Are your desired outcomes achievable and attainable?
Realistic – Are your desired outcomes realistic given our resources?
Time Bound – By when will you expect to see your desired outcomes?

When writing SMART objectives, it may be helpful to use an objective-writing template:

By (TIME BOUND: what date or completion of what activity),(SPECIFIC: describe who) will (SPECIFIC: describe change in knowledge, attitude or behavior) by indicator (MEASURABLE: describe how you will know change has occurred).

Evaluation in Practice: Evaluating the Implementation of Sex Education in Schools

From 2010-2012, Healthy Teen Network partnered with Elev8 and East Baltimore Development, Inc. to implement and evaluate sexuality education programs in several Baltimore City elementary and middle schools. Healthy Teen Network evaluators engaged educators, school staff, and Elev8 administrators in the evaluation process to obtain meaningful process and outcome evaluation data. Data were incorporated into the planning of each implementation cycle to improve program delivery and enhance outcomes.

The evaluation plan included development and administration of pre-and post-test tailored to the selected program and appropriate for young African American students, direct observation of class implementation, fidelity monitoring assessment, and individual and group interviews with key project staff. The mixed-method evaluation plan allowed Healthy Teen Network to assess the quality and fidelity of the implementation; to identify factors at the school, facilitator, and administration levels affecting the delivery of the program; and to assess gains in knowledge among participants.

Healthy Teen Network is able to support you in providing evaluation services, or building your capacity to conduct program evaluation:

  • Conducting a needs and resources assessment using multiple data collection methods and approaches (e.g., secondary analysis, collecting own data)
  • Developing evaluation plans
  • Designing data collection tools (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Planning and implementing data collection methods
  • Designing participant assessment protocols and tools
  • Designing instructor observation protocols and tools
  • Conducting qualitative data analysis using software
  • Developing evaluation reports
  • Interpreting evaluation results
  • Conducting continuous quality improvement (CQI) based on evaluation results

For more information on these capacity-building services, contact Mila Garrido or complete a service request form today.

Genevieve Martínez García, PhD, is a Senior Researcher at Healthy Teen Network.

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