Most government grants require an evaluation plan. Evaluation plans can also be very important with private grants. Many federal grants will require a formative and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation begins during the project. Its goal is to assess the ongoing activities and monitor the project so that corrections can be made. Summative evaluation looks at the mature project and whether it reached its goals.
Successful evaluation begins with the planning of the proposal and the setting of measurable outcomes. Sometimes the RFP will tell you what types of outcomes to measure. If it does not, using a logic model can help. If you are hiring an outside evaluator, he/she may help you set up your outcomes.
Evaluators usually come from outside your project. PIs need to begin working with an evaluator early since evaluation is complex. Typical evaluation costs are up to 10% of the total grant. Common places to find evaluators are:
• University departments such as education, psychology, sociology, administration, science/math education.
• University teaching/learning centers.
• Your colleagues.
• Professional organizations.
• Independent consultants.