Feb
11
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 11-02-2016

Mark Sanborn,mark sanborn who is a best selling author and leadership expert, says:

More important than achieving your goals is pursuing your potential. Then I found this cartoon:potential(Thank you, Doug Savage, for the cartoon.)

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Jan
25
Filed Under (Methodology, program evaluation) by Molly on 25-01-2016

Alan Rickman quote

Alan Rickman Alan-Rickman died this month. He was an actor of my generation; one that provided me with much entertainment. I am sad. Then I saw this quote on the power of stories. How stories explain. How stories can educate. How stories can help reduce bias.  And I am reminded how stories are evaluative.

Dick Krueger dick-1997 did a professional development session (then called a “pre-session”) many years ago. It seems relevant now. Of course, I couldn’t find my notes (which were significant) so I did an online search, using “Dick Krueger and stories” as my search terms. I was successful! (See link.) When I went to the link, he had a whole section on story and story telling. What I remember most about that session is what he has listed under “How to Analyze the Story”. Specifically the four points he lists under problems with credibility:

  • Authenticity – Truth
  • Accuracy – Memory Problems
  • Representativeness and Sampling
  • Generalizability / Transferability

The next time you tell a story think of it in evaluative terms. And check out what Dick Krueger has to say. Read the rest of this entry »

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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Nov
18
Filed Under (Methodology, program evaluation) by Molly on 18-11-2015

I got back to the office Monday after spending last week in Chicago at the AEA annual conference, Evaluation 2015.Evaluation 2015 theme Next year AEA will be in Atlanta, October 24-29, 2016.  atlanta-georgia-skyline Mark your calendars!

I am tired. I take a breath (many breaths), try to catch up (I don’t), and continue to read my email (hundreds of email). I’m sure there are some I will miss–I always do.  In the meantime, I process what I experienced. And pass the conference through my criteria for a successful conference: Did I

  1. See three (and visit with) long time friends: yes.
  2. Get three new ideas: maybe.
  3. Meet three new people I’d like to add to my “friendlies” category: maybe.

Why three. Seemed like a good number; more than one (not representative) and less than five (too hard to remember). Read the rest of this entry »

Oct
23
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 23-10-2015

My friend and colleague, Patricia Rogers, says of cognitive bias , “It would be good to think through these in terms of systematic evaluation approaches and the extent to which they address these.” This was in response to the article herecognitive bias The article says that the human brain is capable of 10 to the 16th power (a big number) processes per second. Despite being faster than a speeding bullet, etc., the human brain has ” annoying glitches (that) cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions.”

Bias is something that evaluators deal with all the time. There is desired response bias, non-response bias, recency and immediacy bias, measurement bias, and…need I say more? Isn’t evaluation and aren’t evaluators supposed to be “objective”? That we as evaluators behave in an ethical manner? That we have dealt with potential bias and conflicts of interest. That is where cognitive bias appear. And you might not know it at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct
15
Filed Under (Methodology, program evaluation) by Molly on 15-10-2015

KASA. You’ve heard the term many times. Have you really stopped to think about what it means? What evaluation approach you will use if you want to determine a difference in KASA? What analyses you will use? How you will report the findings?

Probably not. You just know that you need to measure KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE, SKILLS, and ASPIRATIONS.

The Encyclopedia of Evaluation (edited by Sandra Mathisonsandra mathison) says that they influence the adoption of selected practices and technologies (i.e., programs). Claude Bennett Claude Bennett uses KASA in his TOP model  Bennett Hierarchy.I’m sure there are other sources. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug
18
Filed Under (criteria, Methodology, program evaluation) by Molly on 18-08-2015

I just got back from a road trip across Southern Alabama with my younger daughter.southern alabama We started from Birmingham and drove a very circuitous route ending in Mobile and the surrounding areas, then returned to Birmingham for her to start her second year at Birmingham-Southern College.

As we traveled, I read a book by Bill McKibben (one of many) called Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist. It is a memoir, a personal recounting of the early years of this decade, which corresponded with the years my older daughter was in college (2011-2014). I met Bill McKibben, who, in 2008, is credited with starting the non-profit, 350.0rg, and is currently listed as “senior adviser and co-founder”. He is a passionate, soft-spoken man, who beleives that the world is on a short fuse. He really seems to believe that there is a better way to have a future. He, like Gandhi, is taking a stand.  Oil and Honey puts into action Gandhi’s saying about being the change you want to seegandhi and change. As the subtitle indicates, McKibben is an unlikely activist. He is a self-described non-leader who led and advises the global effort to increase awareness of climate change/chaos. When your belief is on the line, you do what has to be done.

Evaluators are the same way. When your belief is on the line, you do what has to be done. And, hopefully, in the process you are the change that you want to see in the world. But know it cannot happen one pipeline at a time. The fossil fuel industry has too much money. So what do you do? You start a campaign. That is what 350.org has done:  “There are currently fossil fuel divestment campaigns at 308 colleges and universities, 105 cities and states, and 6 religious institutions.”(Wikipedia, 350.0rg) (Scroll down to the heading “Fossil Fuel Divestment” to see the complete discussion.) Those are clear numbers, hard data for consumption. (Unfortunately, the  divestment campaign at OSU failed.)

So I see the question as one of impact, though not specifically world peace (my ultimate impact). If there is no planet on which to work for world peace, there in no need for world peace. Evaluators can help. They can look at data critically. They can read the numbers. They can gather the words. This may be the best place for the use of pictures (they are, after all, worth 1000 words).  Perhaps by combining efforts, the outcome will be an impact that benefits all humanity and builds a tomorrow for the babies born today.

my two cents.

molly.

 

Jul
30
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 30-07-2015

Ignorance is a choice.ignorance

Not knowing may be “easier”; you know, less confusing, less intimidating, less fearful, less embarrassing.

I remember when I first asked the question, “Is it easier not knowing?” What I was asking was “By choosing to not know, did I really make a choice, or was it a default position?” Because if you consciously avoid knowing, do you really not know or are you just ignoring the obvious. Perhaps it goes back to the saying common on social media today: “Great people talk about ideas; average people talk about things; small people talk about other people” (which is a variation of what Elanor Roosevelt said).great minds-people Read the rest of this entry »

Jul
17
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 17-07-2015

“fate is chance; destiny is choice”.destiny-calligraphy-poster-c123312071

Went looking for who said that originally so that I could give credit. Found this as the closest saying: “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

 

Evaluation is like destiny. There are many choices to make. How do you choose? What do you choose?

Would you listen to the dictates of the Principal Investigator even if you know there are other, perhaps better, ways to evaluate the program?

What about collecting data? Are you collecting it because it would be “nice”? OR are you collecting it because you will use the data to answer a question?

What tools do you use to make your choices? What resources do you use?

I’m really curious. It is summer and although I have a list (long to be sure) of reading, I wonder what else is out there, specifically relating to making choices? (And yes, I could use my search engine; I’d rather hear from my readers!)

Let me know. PLEASE!

my two cents.

molly.

Jul
06
Filed Under (criteria) by Molly on 06-07-2015

independence-2

Erma Bombeck said “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers, who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics, where kids throw frisbees, potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you’ve overeaten, but its patriotism.”

I heard this quote on my way back from Sunriver, OR on Splendid Table, an American Public Media show I don’t get to listen to very often and has wonderful tidbits of information, not necessarily evaluative. Since I had just celebrated July 4th, this quote was most apropos! I also heard snippets of a broadcast (probably on NPR) that talked about patriotism/being patriotic. For me, tradition is patriotic. You know blueberry pie on the 4th of Julyblueberry pie natural light; potato salad; pasta; and of course, fireworks (unless the fire danger is extreme [like it was in Sunriver] and then all you can hope is that people will be VERY VERY careful!

So what do you think makes for patriotism? What do you do to be patriotic? Certainly, for me, it wouldn’t be 4th of July without blueberry pie and my “redwhiteblue” t-shirt. I don’t need fireworks or potato salad… :) What makes this celebratory for me is the fact that I am assured freedom from want, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom of speech and I realize that they are only as free as I make them. four-freedoms-2

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it clearly in his speech to congress, January 6, 1941: “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his (sic) own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world…”

This is an exercise in evaluative thinking. What do you think (about patriotism)? What criteria do you use to think this?

mytwo cents.

molly.