February 2013 - Inciter
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How to Recommend Ending a Program

There is no need to skirt the issue—programs being evaluated have justifiable concerns around what an evaluation report may do to the future of their program. Now, if all stakeholders have been honest with themselves from the beginning, it won’t be entirely unexpected to learn that their program is or is not performing well. However, the evaluation report may be the very first time that the outcomes are displayed in such a concrete way. (We will assume that the evaluator meets all evaluation standards and provides a quality report; issues of ethics are for another post!)Eddy and Berry (2009) recommend following a simple heuristic. Essentially, the evaluator determines if the factors leading to program closure are flexible or immutable. If the factors are flexible then the evaluator can recommend changes...

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