Greetings! My name is Phillip Stoeklen, I’m a project manager at ARC Evaluation and the instructor for PSYC 720C: Overview of Evaluation Approaches and Theories, which is part of the Evaluation Studies certificate at UW-Stout.
PSYC-720C is a .1 credit module that explores the theoretical underpinnings of evaluation practice. One of the learning objectives of this module is to understand the major similarities and differences among the various evaluation approaches and theories.
This learning objective closely aligns with competency 1.4 of the Professional Practice Domain: Knows and applies multiple evaluation approaches and theories.
As teachers of evaluation, we must be aware of our own biases for and against different evaluation approaches. While we may typically align ourselves with one evaluation orientation, be it use, methods, or valuing, we must take care to not set out on a mission to convert our students. We are training our students how to be evaluative thinkers, not how to think about evaluation through one lens.
In the Evaluation Studies certificate we expose students to the work of various evaluation theorists and encourage the student to self-align with approaches that speak to them. I say approaches quite deliberately here. None of the evaluation approaches come close to representing a gold standard for the field, so there is no reason for us to be teaching students that they must pick a side in the end. Let’s train students to be adaptive to evaluation need, and to not be afraid of combining these ideas into an ever-evolving evaluation mosaic.
How does this evaluation competency show up in your work? What KSA’s do you possess that help you to use and blend different evaluation approaches? We’re gathering data on EvalKSA’s, share your responses to these questions with us!
Do you need additional training or professional development in evaluation theory? Our online training modules are available to start any time. They are self-paced and typically take between 9 and 12 hours. Sign up today!
This blog post is part of a series that explores the relationship between the proposed American Evaluation Association competencies for evaluators and how they align with KSA’s needed to embody them in our work.