Evaluation is an essential means of achieving outstanding program performance. Without questions, there would be no need to study how well programs perform, what they accomplish, and what the circumstances are in which they operate. For each of the studies summarized below, the question that motivated each is identified. The summaries then provide a brief synopsis of the facts about the study, including, as specified in law, its key findings. These studies emerge as significiant signposts along the path of program review and improvement efforts. Evaluation implies critical judgement and reaching conclusions about merit and value. This year´s collection of completed studies include a wide range of significant findings that are potentially of broad interest.
Each study is listed under the strategic goal and objective it most clearly supports (see Appendix A for all the goals and objectives). Evaluation priorities respond to and are guided by Congressional oversight, Executive branch decision-making, program management needs and performance measurement systems such as Presidential Guidance (such as the recently signed Executive Order 13450, Improving government Program Performance), the Performance Assessment Reporting Tool (PART), and the Government Performance and Reports Act of 1993 (GPRA). Evaluation activities also respond to changing realities in the programs themselves and in the environments in which the programs operate as well as in response to advice and recommendations from earlier evaluations and evaluators.
To view the studies conducted or supported by specific agencies/offices, see the list in Appendix C. In addition to the studies presented in this report, there are, available online, earlier studies and initial entries for studies that are just beginning or are ongoing. These can be found at http://aspe.hhs.gov/pic/performance. Additional guidance on how to obtain more information about these and other studies is available in Appendix E.