Program and policy evaluation aims to determine whether a particular program, regulation, or policy is achieving its objectives by (1) tracking implementation quality and (2) ascertaining whether there was a causal impact, either intended or unintended. This course provides the basic evaluation tools and understanding necessary for students to become critical consumers and effective users of evaluations, thereby building higher quality programs and policies. Topics covered include reasons for and uses of evaluations; evaluation design; strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative methods; mixed-method approaches; estimation of program impacts; practical challenges in data collection and analysis; selection and management of evaluators; dissemination of findings; and integration of findings into policy and organizational strategy. Through in-class exercises, case studies and assignments, students will practice evaluation methods and study the quality of evaluations for a variety of programs and policy instruments. Examples will be drawn from a mix of U.S. social policy and international development topics.
Prerequisite: API-201, API-205, API-209 or permission of the instructor. This course is methodologically less advanced than API-208. No calculus is used and knowledge of STATA is not required.