Program evaluation is the process of judging the worth or value of an educational program. One purpose of program evaluation is to provide data upon which to base decisions about the educational program. Another purpose is to provide evidence of educational effectiveness in response to internal and external demands for accountability. With the demand for high quality programs, development of newer models for the delivery of higher education such as Web-based instruction, and public calls for accountability, there has been a greater emphasis on systematic and ongoing program evaluation. This chapter presents an overview of program evaluation models and discusses evaluation of selected program components, including curriculum, outcomes, and teaching.
A number of models are currently used to guide program evaluation activities in nursing education programs, staff education departments, and patient education programs. These models provide a framework for educators to develop an evaluation plan that includes sources of data and time frames for evaluation. With a planned, systematic evaluation, administrators, faculty members, and others involved in the program have information for quality improvement. There are many evaluation models; a few are described here. Accreditation models such as those used by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), Commission on Collegiate, Nursing Education (CCNE), Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) for baccalaureate programs in Canada, and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) typically use a combination of self-study and site visits to the institution by a team of peer evaluators. Program evaluation based on an accreditation