Sample Essay on Formative Evaluation

Formative Evaluation

Evaluation of projects and studies to determine their strengths and weaknesses as well as ensuring effectiveness and efficiency is crucial. The various techniques for evaluation are used, and they include summative and formative techniques. However, a formative technique is preferred due to its evolutional approach to evaluation (Salazar, 2015, pp. 337-366). The paper looks at the role of formative assessment in project planning and implementation while looking at it users, benefits and weaknesses.

Formative evaluation of a cyclic process throughout the life cycle of the program, and its major application occurs during the planning and implementation process. During the planning stage, formative evaluation aims at coordinating the context of the organization with structures, staffs and rules, and procedures. The objective is to achieve smooth flow of work through a SWOT analysis of the project. The formative evaluation assesses the alignment ofgoals and input to the outputs expected thus ensuring the project is implemented the best way possible and efficient utilization of resources is achieved.

The benefit of formative evaluation is that it helps to establish the transparency of the program substantive theory, whether the implementation process is standard and if the evaluation process is sufficient. Also, it helps in capacity building in the organization. However, the technique is laborious and time-consuming compared to summative evaluation (Allen, 2009, p. 26). Additionally, it relies on qualitative methods that may not meet expectations.

Several stakeholders take part in the formative evaluation process, and the key ones are the project managers and policymakers. The assessment process is dynamic and affects all the aspects of the organization. The stakeholders are engaged in the goal identification and evaluation. Achievable and realistic targets need to be set by the program managers. Data collectors gather relevant information that aids in identifying the methodical choices (Dang, 2013). The policy makers set the guideline to be followed during the implementation process while the programmers make judgments and generate findings. The rationale for involving various players at different stages is to maintain integrity and competence of the program.


Allen, D. R. & Finlayson,T. (2009). The role of formative research in Behaviour Surveillance. Public health Reports. Phoenix: Phoenix Press.

Dang, C. V. (2013). Program planning: Evidenced project evaluation. PLoS ONE, 8, 1–7.

Salazar, L., Crosby, R.A. & DiClemente, R. J. (2015). Research methods in health promotion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.