Dec
03
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 03-12-2015

The US just celebrated Thanksgiving, the annual day of thankfulness. Thanksgiving Canada celebrated in mid October (October 12). Although other countries celebrate versions of the holiday, originally the US and Canada celebrated in honor of the previous harvest.

Certainly, the Guiding Principles Guiding principles and the Program Evaluation Standards program evaluation standards provide evaluators with a framework to conduct evaluationEvaluation3 work. The work for which I am thankful.

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Aug
12
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 12-08-2014

Wikipedia says the phrase of “dog days” refers to the sultry (read: HOTdog days of summer) days of summer, typically July and August in the northern hemisphere. In Oregon, it is definitely August. It was 100.4 yesterday; 96 the day before. I didn’t sleep well, even with fans and cool evenings (low 60s). This is the hottest summer I’ve experienced in the 16 years I’ve been in Oregon–there were 10 days of hot weather in May, June, and July; and now so far in August. The Dog days are also when the star Sirius can be seen (assuming there is no cloud cover, a common phenomenon  in Oregon–if not the winter rainy season, then summer thunderstorms.) Dog days were thought to be when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man (sic), among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813 (A Compendious Analysis of the Calendar; Illustrated with Ecclesiastica, Historical, and Classical Anecdotes 2 volumes). Read the rest of this entry »

Jun
26
Filed Under (Data Analysis, Methodology, program evaluation) by Molly on 26-06-2012

Matt Keene, AEAs thought leader for June 2012 says, “Wisdom, rooted in knowledge of thyself, is a prerequisite of good judgment. Everybody who’s anybody says so – Philo Judaeus,

Socrates,  Lao-tse,

Plotinus, Paracelsus,

Swami Ramdas,  and Hobbs.

I want to focus on the “wisdom is a prerequisite of good judgement” and talk about how that relates to evaluation.  I also liked the list of “everybody who’s anybody.”   (Although I don’t know who Matt means by Hobbs–is that Hobbes  or the English philosopher for whom the well known previous figure was named, Thomas Hobbes , or someone else that I couldn’t find and don’t know?)  But I digress…

 

“Wisdom is a prerequisite for good judgement.”  Judgement is used daily by evaluators.  It results in the determination of value, merit, and/or worth of something.  Evaluators make a judgement of value, merit, and/or worth.  We come to these judgements through experience.  Experience with people, activities, programs, contributions, LIFE.  Everything we do provides us with experience; it is what we do with that experience that results in wisdom and, therefore, leads to good judgements.

Experience is a hard teacher; demanding, exacting, and often obtuse.  My 19 y/o daughter is going to summer school at OSU.  She got approval to take two courses and for those courses to transfer to her academic record at her college.  She was excited about the subject; got the book; read ahead; and looked forward to class, which started yesterday.  After class, I had never seen a more disappointed individual.  She found the material uninteresting (it was mostly review because she had read ahead), she found the instructor uninspiring (possibly due to class size of 35).  To me, it was obvious that she needed to re-frame this experience into something positive; she needed to find something she could learn from this experience that would lead to wisdom.  I suggested that she think of this experience as a cross cultural exchange; challenging because of cultural differences.  In truth, a large state college is very different from a small liberal arts college; truly a different culture.  She has four weeks to pull some wisdom from this experience; four weeks to learn how to make a judgement that is beneficial.  I am curious to see what happens.

Not all evaluations result in beneficial judgements; often, the answer, the judgement, is NOT what the stakeholders want to hear.  When that is the case, one needs to re-frame the experience so that learning occurs (both for the individual evaluator as well as the stakeholders) so that the next time the learning, the hard won wisdom, will lead to “good” judgement, even if the answer is not what the stakeholders want to hear.  Matt started his discussion with the saying that “wisdom, rooted in knowledge of self, is a prerequisite for good judgement”.  Knowing your self is no easy task; you can only control what you say, what you do, and how your react (a form of doing/action).  The study of those things is a life long adventure, especially when you consider how hard it is to change yourself.  Just having knowledge isn’t enough for a good judgement; the evaluator needs to integrate that knowledge into the self and own it; then the result will be “good judgements”; the result will be wisdom.