I spent much of the last week thinking about what I would write on November 7, 2012.
Would I know anything before I went to bed? Would I like what I knew? Would I breathe a sigh of relief?
Yesterday is a good example that everyday we evaluate. (What is the root of the word evaluation?) We review a program (in this case the candidates); we determine the value (what they say they believe); we develop a rubric (criteria); we support those values and that criteria; and we apply those criteria (vote). Yesterday over 117 million people did just that. Being a good evaluator I can’t just talk about the respondents without talking about the total population–the total number of possible respondents. One guess estimates that 169 million people are registered to vote – 86 million Democrat – 55 million Republican – 28 million others registered. The total response rate for this evaluation was 69.2%. Very impressive–especially given the long lines. (Something the President said that needed fixing [I guess he is an evaluator, too.])
I am reminded that Senators and Representatives are elected to represent the voice of the people. Their job is to represent you. If they do not fulfill that responsibility, it is our responsibility to do something about it. If you don’t hold them accountable, you can’t complain about the outcome. Another evaluative activity. (Did I ever tell you that evaluation is a political activity…?) Our job as evaluators doesn’t stop when we cast our ballot; our job continues throughout the life of the program (in this case, the term in office). Our job is to use those evaluation results to make things better. Often, use is ignored. Often, the follow-through is missing. As evaluators, we need to come full circle.
Evaluation is an everyday activity.