I try to keep politics out of my blogs. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your world view), evaluation is a political activity. Recently there have been several posts by others that remind me that evaluation is a political activity. I try to point out how everyday activities are evaluative.
One is the growing discussion (debate?) about gun regulation. Recently, the Morning Joe show included a clip that was picked up by MoveOn.org. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. Although the evaluative criteria are not clear, the outcome is and each commentator addressing the issue with a different lens (go here to view the clip).
In addition, a colleague of mine posted on her blog another blogger’s work (we are all connected, you know) that demonstrates the difficulty evaluators have being responsive to a client, especially one with whom you do not share the value in question (see Genuine Evaluation). If you put your evaluator’s hat aside, the original post could be viewed as funny.
How many times have you smelled the milk and decided it was past prime? Or seen mold growing on the yogurt? This food blog also has many evaluative aspects (insert use by date blog). Check it out.
I’m back from Tucson where it was warm and sunny–I wore shorts! The best gift that I got serendipitously was the observation of peer learning from the participants. Now I have to compile an evaluation of the program because I want to know what the participants thought, systematically. I took a lot of notes and I know what needs to be added; what worked; what didn’t. I got a lot of spontaneous and unsolicited comments about the value of the program–so OK–I’ve got the qualitative feed back (e.g., 18 months ago I wouldn’t have thought of this; knowing I’m not alone in the questions I have helps; I can now find an answer…). Once I get the quantitative feedback, I’ll triangulate the comments, the quantitative data, and any other data I have. I am hoping to USE these findings to offer the program again. More on that later.
An update on my making a difference query. I’ve gotten a couple of responses and NO examples. One response was about not using page views as a measure of success; instead use average time viewing a page. A lot of responses think that this is a marketing blog. Since evaluation is such a big part of marketing, I can see how that fits. Only, this is an evaluation blog. I’m not posting the survey. It has been closed for weeks and weeks. I was hoping for examples about how it changed your thinking, practice, world view.
Also, just so you know, I was in an auto accident 24 hours after I returned from Tucson. Mersedes and I have aches and pains and NO serious injuries. We do not have a car any more. Talk about evaluating an activity–think about what you would do without a car (or if you don’t have one, what you would do with one). I had to.