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



Allison Chapman and Jia Ma on the Function of Evaluative Inquiry for the Development of Graduate Students

Hello, this is Allison Chapman and Jia Ma, PhD students in the Assessment and Evaluation Group (AEG) at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. We are particularly interested in the challenges, impacts, and evaluations of large-scale assessments.

Evaluative inquiry contributes to the personal and professional growth of individuals within organizations through the process of exploring individuals’ values, beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge through dialogues and reflections (Preskill & Torres, 1999). However, the process of learning in evaluative inquiry is rarely examined, especially in the university context where graduate students’ development is essential and valuable. Evaluative inquiry conducted in a collaborative manner can function as a mechanism to support graduate students’ transitions into their academic studies and subsequent future learning. For example, the Mentor Program in our AEG offers access to opportunities of critique, support, and feedback.

Hot Tip: Reflect on what you think is valuable in your peer collaborations. Jot them down as key words or short sentences, such as, venues for getting research resources, time management ideas; this will build your skill sets for a smooth transition into your graduate studies.

Two ways evaluative inquiry can support this reflection process: (1) Keep journals of what you have observed and experienced in your graduate study. You are not limited to record only the achievements you have made, but any challenges, difficulties you have experienced will be valuable resources; (2) Collaborate with your peers. Regular discussions are an excellent way to facilitate collaborations on a variety of topics: struggles, progresses, and unclear concepts.

Rad Resource: Google Documents – This is a great tool that allows you to work simultaneously with your peers that may be at different locations on the same word document, presentation, spreadsheet, or drawing document.

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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