YFE TIG Week: Katie Richards-Schuster on Looking to the Future: Critical Questions for Youth-Focused Evaluation

My name is Katie Richards-Schuster and I’m the Chair for the Youth Focused Evaluation (YFE) TIG. As we wrap up another year and annual conference nears, it seems fitting to reflect on the future. From the position of chair, there has never been a more exciting time to work in the area of YFE. When many of us began working together over 10 years ago to draft principles of YFE as a field of practice, we did not know how many others would quickly join the endeavor.

As AEA members, we should ask ourselves about the role of young people in evaluation and the new perspectives brought forth when young people are involved. This conference’s theme focusing on “Exemplary Evaluations in a Multi-Cultural World” provides a platform for expanding the roles of young people in evaluation.

In particular, some of the questions we need to ask relate to continuing to develop our own practices:

  • What are the role or role(s) young people should play in evaluation? What is needed to prepare young people for these roles?
  • What are the roles of adults? What is needed to prepare adults as allies in evaluation?
  • What supports and facilitates youth engagement? What are some of the challenges and barriers?
  • What are the best practices for engaging young people? For engaging adults?
  • What more needs to be known about the development of youth-adult partnerships as a vehicle for youth-focused evaluation efforts?
  • What are the contexts in which youth-focused evaluation is occurring? Where is it happening? Where is it not? Why?
  • What is the impact of youth participation in evaluation on youth? On programs? On communities?
  • What knowledge needs to be developed to further the field? What are the critical questions for the future?
  • What are the forms this knowledge should take? What are strategies for co-learning?
  • What are the possibilities for cooperation, collaboration, and co-learning in various contexts?

Rad Resource: YFE Discussion Opportunities at the AEA 2015 Conference

In Chicago, 29 different papers, roundtables, think tanks, and sessions will be presented on YFE. While the papers range across topic, main themes include: practices and methods in youth participation, methods in youth development, systematic measurement and collective impact tools, capacity build strategies, and youth participation in the TIG and the AEA.   The information developed and shared will help address these questions and raise new ones.

See you in Chicago!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Youth Focused Evaluation (YFE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the YFE AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our YFE TIG members. 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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