Introduction to Program Evaluation


The purpose of this training is to provide participants with an overview and introduction on how to evaluate an internship program’s effectiveness. Internships are one of the most important ways NPS introduces a younger generation to the tradition of stewardship of our nation’s natural and cultural resources. This course is a short introduction to program evaluation for NPS professionals who work with internship programs. It will provide valuable tools you can use to document the achievements of your program.

A program evaluation identifies, discovers, generates and displays information about an organization’s program effectiveness. The information shows what the organization produces, how those products affect society, and the worth of the program. Budget hearings before Congress, as well as OMB, often require information generated by program evaluations. Legislation commonly requires a formal evaluation of as a condition for a program’s existence or funding. Participants will learn to describe programs, identify information useful in an evaluation, collect reliable data, and analyze it effectively.

After a brief overview, we will focus on the characteristics of a successful internship. You will be able to sketch a diagram – called a logic model – that captures the core components of a strong internship program. Using the logic model, you can identify key questions and plan data collection activities to find answers. You’ll learn how small-scale data collection can help you build a stronger internship program.

Learning Objectives

Upon conclusion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain your idea of a successful internship program
  • Create a logic model outlining the components of a successful program
  • List key evaluation questions that require data-based answers
  • Identify valuable resources for data collection and analysis including the National Internship Evaluation Toolkit
  • Complete a one-page plan for a small-scale study to evaluate your internship program


3 hours

Target Audience:
Employees who are new to the field of program evaluation or those who need to review the basics of program evaluation.

Class Size:


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Instructor Information


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