As the last class concluded on program evaluations we had an interesting dialogue about the need to evaluate the evaluators. It is important to evaluate the evaluations, and it is equally important to evaluate the evaluators. We discussed the inevitable biases that may affect an evaluation, and the importance of the methods used, as well as the needs of all stakeholders. As I have just concluded my first experience with the new teacher evaluation for my school district, my administrator and I took a moment to reflect on the process. My comment was that I could not imagine being evaluated using the University of Washington’s 5D+ Framework™ by an administrator without having the opportunity to offer evidence, and to discuss the scores assigned. While my experience was positive, and rewarding, with a different evaluator, it could have been disheartening, to say the least. The methods that are used, and the ability to reflect, honestly on the process is key to the results of an evaluation being used to improve a program, or encourage employee growth, whichever the case may be.
I was particularly impressed with a quote from Caroline Heider who writes that though “more used to telling others how they’re doing, evaluators must also be willing to be assessed if they’re to be credible” (Heider, 2014). This is true of teachers, administrators, managers, and program evaluators alike. Miller (2010) predicts the “need for prospective evaluation of evaluations to become a standard of practice” (Miller, 2010).
When evaluators subject themselves to similar, or even more rigorous evaluations, than those they evaluate, it only serves to strengthen their credibility and that of the field of program evaluation, as well as to increase the use of the results from program evaluations.
Heider, C. (2014, May 4). Who evaluates the evaluators? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ieg.worldbankgroup.org/blog/who-evaluates-evaluators
Miller, R., (2010). Developing standards for empirical examinations of evaluation theory. American Journal of Evaluation 31(3).