LAWG Week: Learning about AEA’s Draft Competencies by Susan Tucker

This is Susan Tucker, Treasurer of AEA and an independent evaluator (Evaluation & Development Associates LLC). As a member of AEA’s Competencies Task Force, I welcome you all to learn more about the task force’s progress at Evaluation 2017.

Our 16 member task force led by Jean King was charged by AEA’s Board in 2015 to explore and refine a unified set of evaluator professional competencies as a next step in AEA’s continuing commitment to our Ends Goals. Since then, we have been actively soliciting AEA member dialog about appropriate next steps in the professionalization of evaluators.  The ultimate goal is to submit this set of professional competencies for our members to ratify.

What the Competency Task Force has been doing:  Since 2015 we have:

  • completed an international crosswalk of competencies across 20 countries and presented at Evaluation 2015
  • created draft competencies and posted five domains on AEA’s website in February 2016 based on Evaluation 2015 listening post results
  • held another listening post at Evaluation 2016 and the 2016 Summer Institute as well as a standing invitation to anyone who visits AEA’s homepage to email us at
  • conducted 15 virtual focus groups in Spring 2016 with members from over 30 TIGs and 5 local affiliates, as well as consulted with leaders from other VOPEs regarding:
    1. adequacy of the proposed domains
    2. sub-domain item-level feedback
    3. missing domains and items
    4. uses for the competencies
    5. concerns and opportunities
  • shared results of the focus groups at AEA’s 2016 annual conference—Areas suggested for further attention included: more attention to use and influence, client capacity building, advocacy, teamwork, defining competency and how we are “different” from related fields, role of international members, and clarifying next steps as certification
  • hosted a weeklong aea365 in December 2016 to share the latest five competency domains and solicit additional input
  • made revisions in the competency domains based on 2017 feedback in the early spring followed by designing an online survey to the whole AEA membership to determine if these competencies are the right ones for AEA. The competency survey was piloted in July 2017 in preparation for a September launch to the membership.

What’s next:  Survey results will be analyzed and shared with the board and general membership at Evaluation 2017. Task force members concur that it will be important to continue the work by creating professional development materials to support evaluators, wherever they work.

Hot Tip:  Consistent with the conference theme of “learning to enhance evaluation practices,” our latest learnings will be shared at Evaluation 2017 via three sessions which we hope you will attend.

We’re looking forward to November and the Evaluation 2017 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). 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 contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to

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