Evaluability Assessment and Program Complexity


The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the use of evaluability assessment (EA) to address program complexity. Although EA was introduced in the 1970s as a pre-evaluation activity to determine if a program was ready for outcome evaluation, it has evolved into an approach that can be used at any point in a program’s lifecycle and is no longer tied exclusively to quantitative outcome evaluation designs. It can be used for program development, formative evaluation, developmental evaluation, and as a precursor to summative evaluation.

EA fosters understanding of program complexity through its reliance on stakeholder involvement; investigation of program characteristics, context, implementation, and logic; inclusion of both research knowledge and practitioner knowledge in program theory; and focus on using evaluation results for decision making. This workshop will include background on current EA theory and practice, alignment of EA with systems thinking, and strategies for using EA when evaluating complex programs.

You will learn:

  • the background on current EA theory and practice
  • the alignment of EA with systems thinking
  • strategies for using EA when evaluating complex programs
  • essential elements of EA and how they are incorporated in the EA model presented
  • how to implement the EA model presented, particularly as it pertains to addressing program complexity


Dr. Mike Trevisan has held the positions of Dean of the College of Education, Professor of Educational Psychology, and Associate Director for Learning at the Performance Research Center at Washington State University.  He has been conducting educational research and evaluation for 30 years.  Dr. Tamara Walser is Director of Assessment and Evaluation and Associate Professor of Educational Research and Leadership at the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  Previously, she worked in non-profit and for-profit organizations as a program evaluator and assessment specialist.  Both facilitators have conducted numerous EAs, published articles on EA, and collaborated on the latest book published on EA with SAGE publications, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use (Trevisan and Walser, 2014).  They have also conducted workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia.

You can contact Mike by email via trevisan@wsu.edu and Tamara via email at walsert@uncw.edu.








Sunday, April 30 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm

Lien avec les compétences de la SCÉ pour les évaluateurs

  • Respects all stakeholders
  • Specifies program theory
  • Determines program evaluability
  • Respects the uniqueness of a site
  • Attends to issues of evaluation use