American Evaluation Association

I wish there were a tab in their webpage called “Do you need an evaluator?”.  When the toilet stops working, I understand that I need to call a plumber, but it’s not clear to me at what point do I need to call an evaluator.  From this web page, it is obvious that you cannot easily put your finger on “evaluation”, and say “here it is.”  This is evidenced by the massive amount of text dedicated to their policies page, and the fact that it was changed 6 times, just last year.  However, I know as an organization gets bigger, and each department narrows its sights on their objectives, I suppose it would be helpful to have some sort of consultant that tries to look at the big picture and promote efficiency.

AEA 365

I found this link within the webpage, which made me feel human again while reading about “evaluation”.  The most recent post talked about randomized control trial (RTC), which mostly went over my head, but what was most interesting were the big names that the author used with it:  Institute of Education Sciences and The U.S. Department of Education.  It suggests that the influence of these two institutes is causing the evaluation industry to conform to RTC.  It gave some practical advice and links for someone who wants to learn more about applying RTC.

Reflection

As I was reading through these webpages, the same feeling emerged as when I have read the course textbook; evaluation is necessary and serves a purpose, but I’m probably not the guy to make a career out of it.  I am willing to learn and perhaps I will see things differently, but I imagine that most of the time, when someone is evaluating a program, I will be on the microscope tray, rather than looking through the eyepiece.

As I read about evaluation, here are some other questions that pop in my mind, and I’m curious what might be the answer:

  • Does every program have a life cycle?  If so, when do you decide to let it die or evaluate it?
  • Is it possible to get bogged down in evaluation to such an extent that you sacrifice efficiency?
  • How has evaluation influenced the history of the world?  For example, how did evaluation or lack of, affect the fall of the Roman Empire?
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