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Formative Evaluation

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > F, G, H > Formative Evaluation

Formative Evaluation 

An interim evaluation that examines the effectiveness of implementation for the purpose of facilitating improvement

(Treasury Board Secretariat. "Evaluation Function in the Government of Canada." Last modified February 25, 2010.


The following notes on formative or "interim" evaluations are drawn from the Treasury Board Secretariat's statement on the Evaluation Function in the Government of Canada:
"Formative, or interim evaluations, examine the effectiveness of implementation for facilitating improvement. A formative evaluation is usually conducted in mid-cycle of the program, policy or initiative (normally within 2 years of start-up). Its intent is to provide information to improve the program, policy or initiative. Given that most programs or policies operate on a four-year cycle, undertaking both a formative and summative evaluation can be potentially onerous. For this reason, it is recommended that formative evaluations be used judicially. A useful application of formative evaluation is where questions arise as to the delivery of the program. Formative evaluations can be used to address specific delivery issues such as the quality of performance information and reporting systems. Where "full" formative evaluations are undertaken, there is an expectation that outputs, early results, validation of program logic, and the likelihood of long-term results achievement are assessed."


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School of Public Policy and Governance