NJJEC Launches Online Program Evaluation Tutorial

JRSA Forum. September 2012. Volume 30, Number 3.

As part of its mission to increase the evaluation capacity of states, localities, and tribes, the National Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center (NJJEC) offers web-based training resources, including webinars on topics such as performance measurement, logic modeling, and data collection and analysis. Web training resources meet an identified need for free and accessible training on these topics targeted towards state, local, and tribal juvenile justice practitioners.

Module Four: Data Collection and Program Improvement

This month, NJJEC will introduce an online tutorial that teaches users about evaluation, performance measurement, and evidence-based practices. This free tutorial is an updated version of the Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center (JJEC) tutorial Evaluation: A Tool For Program Improvement, which was created in 2003. The tutorial was popular among Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grantees throughout the duration of the project, and continued to receive web "hits" even after the JJEC project concluded.

The new tutorial has four modules. The first module provides an introduction to the lessons and a pre-quiz to test the user's knowledge. Module Two teaches users how to identify and show evidence for a problem in the community, as well as select and implement appropriate evidence-based programming. Module Three assists users in understanding how to develop performance measures and create a logic model, and Module Four describes ways to collect and analyze performance measure data and use these data for program improvement. There is a second quiz at the end of Module Four to assess what users have learned. Tutorial-takers are able to enter an e-mail address to receive results and responses for both quizzes.

Step Two: Implement Evidence-Based Programming

The lessons follow the story of a youth program director who must use an evidence-based program and collect performance measurement data in order to continue to operate her community center. She models the community center's efforts after an evidence-based mentoring program, and develops a plan for collecting program data and explaining the program logic to her funders. The lessons include definitions for key terms in evaluation and performance measurement, and walks users through the development of goals, objectives, and activities. A logic model template is included, as well as links to a number of online resources, including OJJDP's Model Programs Guide, Blueprints for Violence Prevention, and several national organizations that provide resources and assistance related to hiring and working with an evaluator.