Evaluation Plans


If you have recently applied to a Federal grant, or perused a Federal Request for Proposals in preparation for an application, you likely noticed an increasing emphasis on evaluating your proposed project or study. Federal funders are now strongly promoting evidence-based practices through their grant competitions. The goal is to focus on promising strategies that have been subject to research and evaluation as a way to enhance the effectiveness of work supported by Federally funded applicants, and to improve outcomes for student participants.  Thus, PIs who want to develop competitive Federal grant proposals need to focus on inclusion of a well-designed evaluation plan. 

A strong evaluation plan should be an integral component of the application project narrative and should be used, as appropriate, to shape the development of the project from the beginning of the grant period.  The plan should include benchmarks to monitor progress toward specific project objectives and also outcome measures to assess the impact on the proposed outcomes for the institution and project participants.  The plan should identify the individual and/or organization that have agreed to serve as evaluator for the project and describe the qualifications of that evaluator.  It is important to identify and involve this individual or organization early on in the proposal development, to enable collaborative development of a comprehensive and effective evaluation design.  Make sure to devote an appropriate level of resources (often at least 10% of the proposed budget) to the level of evaluation required and proposed. 

Valuable resources to identify the types of evidence that many Federal funding opportunities are requiring or rewarding in proposed evaluation plans can be found at the Department of Education “What Works Clearinghouse” at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc