An Improvement- and Accountability-Oriented Program Evaluation: An Evaluation of the Adventure Scouts Program

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Program evaluation is the systematic collection and analysis of information about the process and outcomes of programs to make improvements or judgments about the quality of the programs. In this article, we provide an overview of the history of, and approaches to, program evaluation, followed by descriptions of 10 steps of conducting an improvement- and accountability-oriented program evaluation. Then, we present a summary of a summative evaluation of the Adventure Scouts program conducted to determine its effectiveness as an alternative Scouting experience for underprivileged minority boys in Lake County, Illinois. Evaluators used Michael Scriven's approach to program evaluation, especially the Key Evaluation Checklist, as a framework of the evaluation. A program logic model was used to identify five dimensions of the program as the key areas of the evaluation (content alignment, participation rate, retention rate, leadership skills, and character building). The overall results as well as lessons learned and recommendations are presented.