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innovative approaches and emerging practices

While the periodic measurement of program performance over time can show improved outcomes and suggest correlations between services and outcomes, this monitoring is not sufficient to prove that the program activities have caused the observed changes. However, if progress is tracked to show implementation of the interventions and the desired change occurs it can be inferred that the program is responsible for the outcomes, especially if there have been peer reviewed research studies of these interventions showing positive outcomes. The correlation between program services and positive outcomes is strengthened when additional evaluation methods are used such as pre and post tests of interventions or comparison to a comparable group that is not receiving the program services. To demonstrate cause and effect relationships, an experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation design would be used. See Appendix V-A for an overview of the evaluation designs that are used to evaluate cause and effect. If an intervention has not been proven or is being applied to a different group or in a different way than in the research studies from which the program rationale was derived, you may want to develop a demonstration project and expand the evaluation to demonstrate cause and effect. This expanded outcome evaluation usually requires increased evaluation funding. FHOP Planning Guide 79 Key Elements There are two key elements for a valid performance monitoring evaluation. They are objectives and their performance measures and credible program theory. Program theory evolves from the problem analysis process and the strategies identified in the research as well as best practices literature, experts in the field, and local experience. If program theory is sound and the program objectives and performance measures accurately capture the implementation processes and outcomes of a program, a credible performance monitoring evaluation can be conducted.