AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Nov/10

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Internal Eval Week: Kathleen Norris on the Internal Evaluation Boa

Hi, my name is Kathleen Norris. I am an Assistant Professor and Education Department Co-Coordinator of Educational Leadership Programs at Plymouth State University.

Internal evaluators can be involved in more than one role in an organization, and some internal evaluators desire to make these roles identifiable to others in the organization so that it is clear when they are doing work in assessment or evaluation and when they are doing other work. Also, given the anxiety that evaluative work can produce, we have found it important to think of how to identify the evaluation role in ways that would not produce more anxiety among the staff and protect the internal evaluator from being seen as a full time evaluator while they performed work that was not connected to their role as an evaluator. So, two ideas surfaced that were embraced by our clients, one more conservative and one that is a bit lighter.

Hot Tip #1: The more understated idea was for the internal evaluator to carry/use a particular and distinctively colored clipboard so that anyone in the organization would know that their colleague was doing evaluation work when they were carrying it and that they were definitely not doing evaluation work when they were not.

Hot Tip #2: The other idea was for the evaluator to wear a particular accessory, such as a very bright boa, while engaged in evaluation work, which was seen as a way of engaging the other staff members with the evaluator in that role in a way that might be less threatening or less anxiety-producing and perhaps ensure that the rest of the staff knows that the internal evaluator can maintain a sense of humor even while doing very serious work.

Either the clipboard or the boa can be hung up and used by anyone involved in internal evaluation, or a set of them can be made available for the crew of internal evaluators who also work in other roles within the organization.

Want to learn more about Kathleen’s work? Join over 2500 colleagues at the AEA Annual Conference this November in San Antonio and check out her session in the conference program.

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