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John LaVelle on Personal Statements About Evaluation

My name is John LaVelle, I am an advanced graduate student at Claremont Graduate University.  When I worked as the Jobs Coordinator for my department, I would encourage the students to develop a personal statement about evaluation.  This is important because when they would go to interviews, they would often be asked to describe their understanding of evaluation and explain it to people that may or may not have an background in evaluation.  This exercise eventually became an important element in the Evaluation Procedures course.

Hot Tip: Develop a personal statement of what evaluation means to you and how it can and should be practiced in dynamic, fluid, and political organizational and community environments and how it differs from basic research. In other words, if a client asked you to explain your understanding of evaluation, your approach to evaluation, how you would work with stakeholders, and so on, what would you tell him or her? In your statement, explain what processes you think are important for designing and implementing an evaluation, and how you would approach determining an evaluation’s design and data collection methods.

What might your personal statement of evaluation look like?

6 thoughts on “John LaVelle on Personal Statements About Evaluation”

  1. Pingback: Who are you as an evaluator? « Evaluspheric Perceptions

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  4. I agree with Beth’s comment and thought pretty much the same thing: As teachers, we do develop a teaching philosophy and even have aspiring teachers in undergrad/graduate programs articulate their emerging philosophies as part of their teacher education coursework. I teach Program Evaluation Methods for graduate students, many of whom come from education and related fields, and having them develop a personal evaluation philosophy would be a wonderful end-of-semester exercise for them. This will give students an opportunity to reflect on their learning, and integrate their new knowledge with prior understanding of and experience with evaluation. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. This is a great idea! I have a “teaching philosophy” for my university teaching and I can see how this would be useful in much the same way. Even just writing my teaching philosophy was helpful in thinking through my values and processes and I’m sure it will be the same for this. This one is going to the top of my “to do” list!

  6. Yes! And perhaps an ‘elevator speech’ too – we’re regularly asked ‘what exactly do evaluators do?’ But summing up the complexity of the field in a sentence can be a challenge. Some version of “collect, analyze, and report on data for program/process/policy/personnel improvement and accountability in order to make the world (or one little part of it) better!”

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