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This report, intended for program planners, identifies steps for evaluation and provides strategies for addressing challenges in program assessment.

Evaluation, the process of determining a program's utility or direction, is critical to program planning, budgeting, and management. Through evaluation, program planners can ascertain how well components of their program are functioning. Evaluation also provides clues as to why components may or may not work.

Evaluation aids program accountability. Managers often need to determine whether their programs are having the intended effect on participants and the community. Documenting a proolder couple on bicyclesgram's impact provides valuable information to decision-and policy-makers, such as program funders.

Finally, evaluation can aid long-term strategic planning for program managers, community leaders, and policy-makers. Carefully documented results from an evaluation provide guidance to those planning similar programs and allow programs to serve as models for other communities.

For the purposes of this publication, the terms "program manager" and "evaluator" are used interchangeably, on the assumption that program managers can capably guide and perform evaluations when funding is not sufficient to hire an outside team of evaluators.


Creating Communities for Active Aging

This guide to program evaluation is a companion to Creating Communities for Active Aging.Managers and staff from active aging programs, as well as other stakeholders, indicated a need for a detailed description of program evaluation.

Creating Communities for Active Aging describes strategic planning for creating active communities, from identifying audiences, to assessing barriers and opportunities for physical activity, to developing strategies for increasing the number of older adult walkers and cyclists. The catalogue of strategies includes public policy changes, improved community design, and information and education approaches.

A third report in the active aging series is From the Field: Four Communities Implement Active Aging Programs, which describes communities' efforts to promote active aging and suggests tips for success. All reports are published by Partnership for Prevention in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They are available at