How is evaluation used in the service of improving a language program?
Program evaluation is the last of the four stages of strategic planning. The field of education, and a Language program, reunite the same needed qualities as any other field to perform at their optimal level.
This being said, program evaluation occurs after a strategy formulation has determined what are the strengths and weaknesses of the program. After this step, the implementation period of the strategy begins and, after the intervention has been completed, in comes the evaluation period. It is through this process of evaluation that data collection and multiple types of assessment will determine whether the program is doing its job at accomplishing its original goals.
In a Language program, there should be a goal, a mission, and a vision. The goal should state what the program will accomplish and how it plans to accomplish it. The mission will encompass the philosophical value of the goal at hand, and how accomplishing the goal will affect society at large. The vision is the mantra that the program will use to identify itself uniquely as the carriers of those goals and that mission.
Hence, a program evaluation is the tool that will filter every plan for intervention used in the program, and will decide through the data whether the mission, vision, and goals of the program carry with them the validity that they claim to have.