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An impact evaluation as a subset of an outcome evaluation

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Performance measurement and program evaluation can both help identify areas of programs that need improvement and determine whether the program is achieving its goals or objectives. They serve different but complimentary functions:

  • Performance measurement is an ongoing process that monitors and reports on a program’s progress and accomplishments by using pre-selected performance measures.
  • Program evaluation, however, uses measurement and analysis to answer specific questions about how well a program is achieving its outcomes and why.

So, performance measurement data describes program achievement, and program evaluation explains why we see those results.

What is Program Evaluation?

Program evaluations are individual systematic studies conducted to assess how well a program is working and why. EPA has used program evaluation to: 

  • Support new and innovative approaches and emerging practices
  • Identify opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiness 
  • Continuously improve existing programs
  • Subsequently, improve human health and the environment