LAWG Week: Valerie Caracelli on AEA’s Conference Theme

This post comes to you from Valerie Caracelli, Senior Social Science Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). I’m serving with David Bernstein as co-chair of the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) for the 2013 American Evaluation Association Conference in Washington, D.C. October 14-19.

Lessons Learned—Do federal managers use performance information? The conference theme, The State of Evaluation Practice in the Early 21st Century, lends itself to the question of whether and how federal managers use performance information to manage for results. GAO’s most recent periodic survey of Federal Managers was recently released under Managing for Results: 2013 Federal Managers Survey on Organizational Performance and Management Issues, GAO-13-519SP.

Lessons Learned—Do evaluations get used? The conference theme also raises the question of whether and how evaluations can make a difference! Stephanie Shipman spearheaded a companion GAO report that focuses on questions from the Federal Managers Survey that address how evaluations contribute to improving program management and policy making. Through case examples, GAO explored barriers that impede use, and strategies that agencies use to get evaluation results used. See Program Evaluation: Strategies to Facilitate Agencies’ Use of Evaluation in Program Management and Policy Making [GAO-13-570]. One finding is that evaluators rely on a body of evidence, rather than a single study, which allows for responding to a broad array of evaluation questions of interest to decision makers. You can download both reports from

[AE1] Hot tips for visiting D.C. in 2013. The perspective you gain from a body of evidence led me to think about your visit to our nation’s capital and where you might find the best perspective for viewing the city and its surroundings:

Mall View From Capitol Dome
The view of the National Mall from the Capitol Dome. Image credit:
  • Naturally, the Washington Monument comes to mind but that will be closed owing to repairs from the 2011 earthquake!
  • At just over half the height of the monument, you can see a 360 degree panorama of the same views from the Clock Tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion. Donald Trump recently purchased the building but the National Park Service still controls the Clock Tower which will remain open during renovations.
  • Evenings you can enjoy the view from the W Hotel’s 11th floor and P.O.V. Roof Terrace provide panoramic views of the monuments and D.C. landmarks which are illuminated in the evening.
  • Staying awhile? The Washington National Cathedral’s Pilgrim Observation Gallery offers a 360-degree view of the city of Washington and its environs.

For more resources on these and other activities, we encourage each of you to visit the Washington Evaluators Local Affiliate website at Washington Evaluators are looking forward to the conference and your arrival!

We’re thinking forward to October and the Evaluation 2013 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). Registration is now open! 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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