External evaluation is a critical part of any program. It can tell you what elements are—or are not—working and whether the program is making a difference. A successful evaluation depends on a complex interaction of people, methods, and a genuine interest in looking critically at program challenges and successes.
At Education Northwest, we have worked with a broad range of program teams to maximize the power of evaluation. In this brief, we share lessons we have learned over decades of experience that can help staff of state and local education agencies and nonprofit organizations use evaluation results for continuous improvement.