Executive Education: Evaluating Social Programs

Executive Education: Evaluating Social Programs

Evaluating Social Programs is J-PAL's flagship executive education course.

This five-day course provides participants a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations and a pragmatic step-by-step guidance on conducting one’s own evaluation. It focuses on the benefits and methods of randomization, choosing an appropriate sample size, and common threats and pitfalls to the validity of the experiment. It also covers the importance of a needs assessment, measuring outcomes effectively, quality control, and monitoring—tools that are critical for both randomized and non-randomized evaluations alike.

J-PAL affiliated professors and staff provide both theoretical and example-based classes, complemented by group exercises where participants can apply key concepts to real world examples. Each course includes 6 to 8 lectures supplemented by case studies, exercises and group discussions covering the topics given below. 

This course is designed for managers and researchers from NGOs, governments, international development organizations, and foundations from around the world, as well as trained economists looking to retool.

The following key questions and concepts are covered:  

  • What is an evaluation?
  • Why and when is a rigorous evaluation of social impact needed?
  • The common pitfalls of evaluations, and why does randomization help.
  • The key components of a good randomized evaluation design.
  • Alternative techniques for incorporating randomization into project design.
  • How do you determine the appropriate sample size, measure outcomes, and manage data?
  • Guarding against threats that may undermine the integrity of the results.
  • Techniques for the analysis and interpretation of results.
  • How to maximize policy impact and test external validity.
  • Understanding and using the Theory of Change framework.

The J-PAL Executive Education Course, Evaluating Social Programs, is held annually in several locations worldwide and an interactive online version of this course is also offered twice a year. For other scheduled courses, check out our Events page

Download sample course agenda (pdf) and see videos and slides from past trainings.

See the Executive Education fee structure.