: Criteria

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Quality Criteria for Evaluation Resources

The criteria provide guidance for designing and reviewing evaluations of NSF-supported projects. They provide a framework for evaluating educational and training programs, projects, and materials in a variety of settings. They are intended both for users of evaluations (e.g., principal investigators, project staff, project monitors) and for evaluators. The criteria are intended to reflect current "best practice" in evaluation (based on the Program Evaluation Standards: 2nd Edition, developed through a consensus-building process in the evaluation community, and recommendations from other authoritative sources). Not all criteria are equally applicable in all evaluations. Therefore, professional judgment must be used to identify those that are most applicable in each situation.

Evaluation activities are varied and can provide different types of useful information to improve project quality. Evaluation data can provide information to

  • help with the planning of a project (understanding the project's goals, objectives, and strategies),
  • determine whether a project is proceeding as planned (meeting its stated goals and objectives according to the proposed timeline),
  • determine the immediate or direct effects of the project on project participants, and
  • identify longer-term as well as unintended project effects.

Helpful Resources:
Alignment Tables

Not sure where to start?  
Try reading some user scenarios for these resources.