Process vs. Outcomes
It's well understood that evaluation is a necessary component of sexual violence prevention - most curricula includes materials such as post-tests and surveys so that facilitators can gauge its effectiveness. These tools are often focused on outcomes, or in other words, they measure the impact of the entire program after it is finished. Another way of evaluating involves analyzing the effectiveness of the process. For example, if someone's goal is to run a marathon, a process evaluation would involve measuring the effectiveness of individual workouts to ensure that they are on the right track to achieving their goal. In order to increase their impact, preventionists should consider implementing process evaluation into their programming.
Evaluating Process in Prevention Groups
Effective sexual violence prevention should include sufficient dosage, and therefore it often takes the form of multisession education groups where students will meet with a facilitator on several occasions. In this scenario, an outcome evaluation will tell you whether or not the program as a whole is effective - but will not tell you about the effectiveness of individual sessions or activities. As we create activities and facilitate discussions, our programming will be more effective if we identify places where we can implement activity based evaluation and measure the effectiveness of the entire program.
For example: a common activity in sexual violence prevention curricula includes asking a group of participants whether or not they believe a behavior is appropriate or not, and then asking them to discuss why they came to that conclusion. If a preventionist is interested in evaluating this activity, they could count the number of times a desired response was shared. Depending on the results of the process evaluation they may make modifications to the curricula and return to key concepts in order to further reinforce past lessons, or they might determine that the participants were able to correctly identify inappropriate behavior and move to other lessons. Additionally, the preventionist could facilitate a discussion on the same topic at a later date to identify whether or not program participants' attitudes or beliefs have changed.
Activity Based Evaluation Toolkit
The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault has created a toolkit called "Activity-Based Assessment: Integrating Evaluation into Prevention Curricula". It explains activity based evaluation in a comprehensive way and includes information on creating learning objectives, identifying opportunities to collect data, and analyzing/scoring data. This toolkit is an incredible resource for preventionists and will bolster prevention programming when used effectively.
If you have questions about integrating activity based evaluation into your programming, feel free to contact us using the button below.