Performance Improvement 1998. HHS Evaluation Activities


HHS defines evaluation as the assessment of program performance (efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness) through the analysis of data or information collected systematically and ethically, and the effective use of resulting information in program or policy decisionmaking and program management. This definition encompasses a range of evaluation activities, such as those listed below.

  • Outcome evaluations measure the immediate or intermediate effects of a program with respect to the stated goals or objectives
  • Impact evaluations look at the broader and long-term results, intended or unintended, of a program on populations or institutions involved.
  • Implementation or process evaluations assess the nature of program inputs and outputs and their relationship to the stated goals and objectives.
  • Policy assessments examine health policies with respect to their development, implementation, or their impact on public health or program activity.
  • Cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analyses develop methodology and its application to assess the relationship of program results to program costs (direct and indirect), often in comparison with alternative programs.
  • Survey data analyses evaluate the results of HHS programs or policies by analyzing data obtained from surveys.
  • Performance measurement and data systems identify and test the validity and reliability of process, output, and outcome indicators to measure the performance of programs and develop data systems supporting implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993.
  • Simulations and models use computer simulations and modeling techniques to analyze the impact of policy changes on service delivery systems and beneficiaries.
  • Management studies examine the effectiveness or efficiency of the administration or operation of HHS programs and offices.
  • Evaluation syntheses integrate the results from multiple independent evaluation studies within a defined program or policy area in a fashion that improves the accessibility and application of those results.
  • Evaluation feasibility studies assess the clarity and importance of program goals and objectives, the consensus of program stakeholders on the potential utility of evaluation information, and the availability of relevant performance data before committing to a full-scale program evaluation.
  • Evaluation design projects procure assistance developing of an evaluation design, measurement tools, or analytic models in preparation for fully implementing an evaluation.
  • Instrument development projects develop evaluation instruments (design, measurement, or analytic) for a specific HHS program or for general use by the health and human services community.
  • Evaluation technical assistance helps HHS officials and grantees with any aspect of evaluation planning, project design implementation analysis, or use of results.
  • Evaluation dissemination identifies target audiences and mechanisms to inform program constituencies and evaluation stakeholders about evaluation results.
  • Evaluation training/conferences maintain the professional skills and expertise of evaluation staff through training opportunities, and promote the dissemination of HHS evaluations through conferences.