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

TAG | evaluator competencies

My name is Anne Vo and I am a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education at UCLA. I served as a session scribe at Evaluation 2010 and attended session number 800, A Radically Different Approach to Evaluator Competencies. I chose this session because I was interested in learning about how evaluator competencies are conceptualized in non-US settings and the possible ways in which evaluation might differ in the New Zealand context in particular.

Lessons Learned: We learned from Jane Davidson, Kate McKegg, and Nan Wehipeihana (presenters on the panel) and Rodney Hopson and Michael Scriven (session discussants) about issues of cultural competence and how they factor into the reconceptualized framework for evaluator competencies in New Zealand.

  • The presenters shared that evaluation practice in Aotearoa (Maori for New Zealand), specifically, is driven by notions of partnership, protection, and participation as stipulated in the Treaty of Waitangi. This document, signed in April 1840, established New Zealand as a British colony, but retained the Maori people’s rights to land ownership as well as their benefits and privileges as new British citizens.
  • The presenters argued that the idea of values is at the heart of evaluation. For New Zealand evaluators, this means that the primary ingredients needed to competently conduct evaluation include an acute awareness and deep understanding of Maori history and culture.
  • The New Zealand program evaluator competencies consist of five domains: 1) contextual analysis and engagement; 2) systematic evaluative inquiry; 3) evaluation project management and professional practice; 4) reflective practice and professional development; and 5) cultural competence – at the center and overlapping with the remaining four domains.
  • Placing culture/cultural competence at the center of the New Zealand program evaluator competencies and evaluation practice marks a great departure from the “Essential Competencies for Program Evaluators” that Jean King and colleagues originally developed in the US-based context.
  • For the panelists, next steps include: 1) articulating which of the competencies developed thus far for the New Zealand context are non-negotiable and 2) working through the tensions that have emerged as a result of centralizing the role of cultural competence in this framework for program evaluator competencies.

Rad Resources: The following are great supplemental reading and resources related to this session:

  • Patricia Rogers and E. Jane Davidson’s Genuine Evaluation Blog (http://www.genuineevaluation.com ).
  • Jean King and colleagues’ (2001) article, “Toward a taxonomy of essential evaluator competencies,” which appeared in volume 22, issue 2 of the American Journal of Evaluation

At AEA’s 2010 Annual Conference, session scribes took notes at over 30 sessions and we’ll be sharing their work throughout the year on aea365. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice.

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I’m Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director, and I contribute each Saturday’s aea365 post. The AEA Board of Directors has adopted a Question of the Quarter to generate discussion with and among members around issue critical to the field.

This quarter’s question is:

  • What are the pros and cons of AEA instituting a certification and/or credentialing program?

Hot Tip: If you are an AEA member, sign up for this month’s Thought Leaders Discussion. François Dumaine and Keiko Kuji-Shikatani helped to shepherd the Canadian Evaluation Society’s Credentialed Evaluator program. They’ll be discussing issues related to evaluator competencies, certification, and credentialing.

Hot Tip: What do you think? Share your thoughts related to the pros and cons of evaluator certification and credentialing via the comments section below. If you are reading this article in email, click on the title to return to the aea365 website and scroll down on this entry to find the comments box.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I’m Cheryl Poth and I am an assistant professor at the Centre for Applied Studies in Measurement and Evaluation in the department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. My area of research is focused on how developmental evaluators build evaluation capacity within their organizations.

Lessons Learned: In addition to supervising graduate students focused on evaluation, I teach doctoral courses in program evaluation and research methods. For many students, the program evaluation course is a required component and they often enter the first class without a clear understanding of what to expect. It has been a pleasure to watch as students begin to recognize not only the marketable skills they gain during the course but also the new lens in which to view the world.

Until recently, it has been challenging for students to articulate the skills in which they gain through completing the program evaluation course.

The development of competencies in the five domains of Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) has provided a means in which to talk about their skills. Demonstrating competency is just one part of the new designation process (in addition to education and experience), the designation means that the holder has provided evidence of the education and experience required by the CES to be a competent evaluator. The CES Credentialed Evaluator (CE) designation is designed to define, recognize and, promote the practice of ethical, high quality and competent evaluation in Canada through a program for professional designations.

This list of competencies may also be useful for practicing evaluators to undertake an “inventory” of skills that they already possess as well as provide a means for identifying areas for professional learning.

Hot Tip: Evaluators from countries other than Canada can become credentialed through this program.

Rad Resource: The Canadian Evaluation Society website, in particular the page related to becoming credentialed – the CES Professional Designations Program found at http://www.evaluationcanada.ca/site.cgi?en:5:7 contains the list of competencies (among other things!).

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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