Assessing Program Outcomes: Rationale and Benefits of Posttest-then-Retrospective-Pretest Designs

James P. Marshall, Brian J. Higginbotham, Victor W. Harris, Thomas R. Lee


The importance of program evaluation for decision making, accountability, and sustainability is examined in this article. Pros and cons of traditional pretest-posttest and posttest-then-retrospective-pretest methodologies are discussed. A case study of Utah’s 4-H mentoring program using a posttest-then-retrospective-pretest design is presented. Furthermore, it is argued that the posttest-then-retrospective-pretest design is a valid, efficient, and cost-effective way to assess program outcomes and impacts.

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