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GOVT Week: Rakesh Mohan on Celebrating Excellence in Legislative Evaluation

Namaste! I am Rakesh Mohan, Director of Idaho State Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations. I currently serve on the AEA Board and am a former executive committee member of the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES). I hope this post will inform you of some good evaluation resources at the state government level.

This past July, in Louisville (KY), NLPES recognized excellence in evaluation at the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). My office along with the Utah’s Office of the Legislative Auditor shared the Excellence in Research Methods Award. The Excellence in Evaluation Award went to Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

Resources: Legislatures in many US states depend on their evaluation shops for providing independent and non-partisan information on a broad range of everyday issues like education, health, social services, corrections, and transportation. If you are interested in some good evaluation and policy analysis work, I encourage you to check the NLPES link that will connect you to every member state office that is doing evaluation work.

To my knowledge, there are at least two other legislative offices that conduct evaluation and policy work but are not listed on the NLPES link: Washington State Institute for Public Policy and the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Hot Tip: The work of these legislative offices ranges from limited focus performance audits to large and complex program evaluations and policy analyses. The nature and scope of work varies from one office to another depending on the authorizing environment and sociopolitical context in which the evaluation office operates. For example, in recent years, my office has focused on larger policy issues in public education, corrections, and transportation. The success of these evaluation offices depends largely on how well they adapt to their dynamic environments and respond to the information needs of their sponsors and stakeholders.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Government Evaluation Week with our colleagues in the Government Evaluation AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our GOVT TIG members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting Government-focused evaluation resources. You can also learn more from the GOVT TIG via their many sessions at Evaluation 2010 this November in San Antonio.

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