Thanks for organizing the course. As a beginner (even wanna-be), I appreciated hearing experienced people talk about their practice. While it isn't exactly clear to me how that will inform my work and thinking going forward, right now, it feels as if it helped to demystify evaluation a bit. I feel a somewhat less intimidated and am excited to engage some specific evaluation work so that I have my own experiences developing program theories with partners, incorporating and managing participation and collaboration throughout, as well as communicating effectively to build meaningful, trusting relationships. Perhaps because it was emphasized in this last session, I'm especially interested in gaining practical experiences studying implementation as a means to help explain outcome variability in programs. That lens seems especially important for anyone interested in equity and justice.
I do have a final question. I'm working to line up some evaluation experiences to continue my learning. In one circumstance, I'm beginning to sense some tension, perhaps wrongly about possible conflicts in the purposes for the evaluation.
I sense the partner wants measures to support learning, so that the work can improve, and measures for accountability to their board. In addition, I get the sense that they believe some of the measures could be used as management tools for individual employees in the form of work performance objectives. This is starting to feel like a possible conflict between purposes of measures that support learning to improve and purposes of measures that support managing employees.
I think this partner thinks that problems with accountability measures can be addressed by having measures that more directly link to what quality work in that context looks like. On the one hand I think I agree. On the other hand, I'm thinking that some of the benefits of measures for learning - especially ones related to implementation of the program - might be threatened when management of individual work performance objectives are also at play.