Metrics and Tools for Consideration
Providing evidence for the program’s capability to meet its goals is key to its continued success. A good evaluation plan starts with the clarity of program goals at the onset, and is furthered by designing program activities that build towards realizing those goals. The plan to evaluate, then, follows with relevance to identify the program’s outcomes and builds on its findings for future iterations of the program.
There are many approaches to evaluating mentoring programs:
Pre-program and Post-program Evaluation
In this method, the program assesses the status quo prior to commencing program activities. Then, the same assessment is conducted at the conclusion of the program, and also at mid-point, in order to find indicators of difference.
Pre- and post evaluations are common tools in conducting self-assessment by the program’s prospective mentees on measures of career self-efficacy, access to resources, sense of belonging to the unit, and sense of wellbeing-- all are common goals for many mentoring programs.
A formative process allows for continuously observing the change being experienced by the mentees and/or mentors while program activities are underway. This could be established through brief questionnaires that follow every mentoring session, for example, that ask for anonymous feedback to be given to the program (not to the mentor) about the quality of the interaction, the content of the conversation; and if the mentee found it helpful. For mentors, feedback from formative assessments can be aggregated or discussed discreetly in regular mentor meetings for further refinements of their practice while the program is underway.
The summative evaluation captures the mentee and mentor sense of the program’s impact at its conclusion. Summative questions about the program may be added to a post-evaluation questionnaire in order to glean further insights into how the program met the needs of mentees, and met its purposes from the perspective of the mentors. A summative evaluation should ask questions that are relevant to the program goals. Summative evaluation may also be conducted in the form of open-ended, or structured, interviews.
Designing of the Evaluation Questionnaires
IRB approval is not required for conducting program improvement questionnaires for the purposes described above. If the program intends to publish its findings, we recommend contacting IRB for possible panel requirements for approval