Newsletter: Bridging the Gap: Using Action Plans to Facilitate Evaluation Use

Posted on April 1, 2016 by  in Newsletter - ()

Senior Research Associate, The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University

NSF requires evaluation, in part, because it is an essential tool for project improvement. Yet all too often, evaluation results are not used to inform project decision making. There is a gap in the project improvement cycle between dissemination of evaluation results and decision making. One way to bridge this gap is through use of an action plan for project improvement informed by evaluation findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) “Management Response Template” (http://bit.ly/undp-mrt) provides a format for  such an action plan. The template was created to encourage greater use of evaluation by projects. UNDP’s template is designed for use in international development contexts, but could be used for any type of project, including ATE centers and projects.

As shown, the template is organized around evaluation recommendations or issues. Any important issue that emerged from an evaluation would be an appropriate focus for action planning. The form allows for documentation of evaluation-based decisions and tracking implementation of those decisions. The inclusion of a time frame for each key action, who is responsible, and status encourages structure and accountability around use of evaluation results and project improvement.

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