Program Decision Making with the CIPP Model of Evaluation

Starting projects and following them to completion can be a daunting task. We often get lost in the "weeds" and unsure of how well our plan actually worked. While some managers may want to "just go" with a new project they leave few to no mechanisms of evaluating the outcomes, it is wiser to think systematically. Mistakes can be costly and embarrassing. The CIPP Model offers a method of evaluating program implementation using context, input, process and product (Stufflebeam, 1983). 

CIPP model of evaluation:

  • Context: What needs to be done? 
  • Input: How should it be done? 
  • Process: Is it being done? 
  • Product: Is it succeeding?

Using four different ways of evaluating a project means that it has achieved a wide array of relevance. It fits within the needs of the business and environment, it is designed appropriately, it is implemented, and whether or not it is succeeding in its tasks. 

Sometimes as managers we fail to take a systematic approach to reviewing our work. Without a consistent method we will have different comparisons for different programs and this will leave us unsure of how successful it was. The CIPP model is broad enough to use in a variety of projects.

Stufflebeam, D. L. (1971a). The use of experimental design in educational evaluation. Journal of Educational Measurement, 8(4), 267-274.

Boulmetis, J., & Dutwin, P. (2005). The ABCs of evaluation: Timeless techniques for program and project managers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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