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TOP Program Evaluation

NTIA began the annual assessment of TOP’s program performance in 1998.  Evaluation reports provide a comprehensive look at the impacts of the TOP investment on target communities, the roles of participating organizations, and the nature and degree of the effects on the problem areas the grants were to tackle.  These program evaluations are available on-line.

Evaluation of the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program for the 1994 and 1995 Grant Years: Released in February, 1999, this report is a comprehensive assessment of projects funded during its first two years of operation. The study was conducted by Westat, a Rockville, Maryland, research and consulting firm. The report looks at short-term project impacts and examines the potential for long-term impact. The study methodology consisted of (1) a comprehensive document review of applications and progress reports; (2) a mail survey of 206 projects, and (3) site visits to 24 projects. Site visit findings were published as 24 individual case study reports. Each report discusses how the project was implemented, project accomplishments, impact on the community, lessons learned from each project, and how each project envisions its future plans.
   • Evaluation Report Executive Summary (Acrobat PDF)
   • Complete Evaluation Report (Acrobat PDF)
   • Case Studies

Collected Case Study Evaluations: Summary of Findings: Released in October, 1999, this volume contains an analysis and summary of findings across an additional 12 case study evaluations conducted in 1999 by Westat. The report addresses trends uncovered across rural and urban sites, and steps taken by projects to develop sustainable technology initiatives. Both the summary and the 12 case studies are included in the print volume. The appendices provide a description of the process used to select the case study sites and contain a list of the interview topics.

Evaluation Report: Technology Opportunities Program — 1996 Projects: Released in April, 2000, this report was also prepared by Westat. The report summarizes findings from a survey of 49 projects funded by TOP in 1996 that were completed and no longer receiving grant monies as of January 1, 1999. The purpose of the study was to assess the effects that the funded projects are having at the local and national levels.
   • Evaluation Report Executive Summary (Acrobat PDF)
   • Complete Evaluation Report (Acrobat PDF)

Evaluation Report: Technology Opportunities Program — 1996-1997 Projects: Released in July, 2001, this survey report summarizes findings related to 42 TOP projects funded during 1996 and 1997, and completed and no longer receiving funds as of June, 2000. The study, conducted by Johnson & Johnson Associates of Fairfax, Virginia, assesses the impact that projects had at the national and local levels, and examines how they evolved.
   • Evaluation Report Executive Summary (Acrobat PDF)
   • Complete Evaluation Report (Acrobat PDF)

Performance Reporting System: In 1998, in order to ensure its ability to assess the performance of its grants program and to comply with the Government Performance and Results Act, TOP initiated a web-based structured reporting system. The Performance Reporting System (PRS) is used to collect project specific quantitative and qualitative data relating to start-up documentation (60 days after the award), quarterly and annual progress, and close-out documentation. Also, the PRS includes a set of core data elements that apply to all projects.

Through the PRS, TOP evaluated the impacts of its projects on an ongoing basis, monitored grants, and provided timely technical assistance to grant recipients.

TOP is interested in the effects that the funded projects are having at the local level and, over the long term, at the national level.  TOP sought to understand the nature and degree of those effects on the organizations implementing the projects, other organizations that are involved with the projects, the individuals who are served by the projects, and the community as a whole.   The PRS data are being made available through the TOP legacy project.

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