The Cooperative Extension System in the United States is based in land-grant universities and has a mission of disseminating, through educational programs, research-based knowledge to communities in order to improve their economic, environmental, and social conditions. Some cooperative extension programs have expanded their mandate to include developing evaluation capacity (referred to as evaluation capacity building or ECB) among their constituents.
The Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, has a website with links to U.S. university extension program evaluation resources as well as evaluation training and blogs.
The university links include:
University of Wisconsin Extension, Program Development and Evaluation
Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension & Outreach
Rutgers, New Jersey Agricultrual Experiment Station, Cooperative Research and Extension
The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University
One university that is missing from the list and should be included is the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE). They have a partnership program that takes a systems approach to evaluation planning, implementation, and use of evaluation results.
Did you know there is a Topical Interest Group (TIG) of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) devoted to cooperative extension evaluation? Here’s a link: http://comm.eval.org/extension_education_evaluation/home/
Here is a link to cooperative extension-related Tips-of-the-Day on the AEA website:
A high-performance social change organization is one that considers catalyzing relevant changes on the ground as ‘mission critical’ to the agency itself. The Effectiveness Assessment Tool for High Performance Social Change Organizations (EA Tool) analyzes the degree to which an agency has aligned their formal and informal operating environment with change as mission critical in order to identify ways to maximize agency effectiveness.
The Effectiveness Assessment Tool is based on the latest research and literature from a number of fields, supplemented by insights gleaned from significant experience in context analysis and program design, monitoring, evaluation and organizational learning. The fields reviewed to build this tool included: Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB), Organizational Readiness, Institutionalizing Evaluation, Learning Organizations and Organizational Learning, Results Based Management (RBM), Culture of Evaluation, and Organization Change Management.
Scharbatke-Church, C. “Effectiveness Assessment Tool.” Besa Working Paper #1. February 2014
An Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective Government
American Evaluation Association, November 2013
In keeping with our mission, the American Evaluation Association hereby describes its vision of the role of evaluation in the federal government. We provide a roadmap for improving government through evaluation, outlining steps to strengthen the practice of evaluation throughout the life cycle of programs.
Evaluation is an essential function of government. It can enhance oversight and accountability of federal programs, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services, assess which programs or policies are working and which are not, and provide critical information needed for making difficult decisions about them.
This Evaluation Guidebook for the Arts was prepared in consultation with the arts community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The language used (tracking rather than data collection), examples (survey development by the Symphony) and the style of presentation (hard copy is a binder with colored pages and tabs) with large font sizes and minimal writing per page was input from the end-users themselves.
The Guidebook was developed by ECDG as part of a larger ECD project for the arts organizations, initiated by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and funded by The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation. Following training on ECDG’s ECD Toolkit and distribution of the Guidebook, a consultant was available as a critical friend to assist individual arts organizations with their specific evaluation needs.
Every service organization needs to conduct sound evaluations to identify and address constituents’ needs, improve services, make defensible personnel decisions, effectively serve clients, and earn client confidence. This article posits that an organization can best meet its evaluation needs by institutionalizing a sound unified evaluation system. While the article focuses on educational organizations, its message applies to the full range of organizations dedicated to serving clients. To assist organizations to define one general approach to program, client, and personnel evaluation, the article presents 2 checklists. The first defines 18 goals of a sound, unified evaluation system. The second checklist defines 10 components of a fully functional evaluation system. Organizations are advised to use these checklists to examine and strengthen or replace their existing evaluation systems.
Daniel L. Stufflebeam
The Evaluation Center
Western Michigan University
The following description of ECD principles is part of the International Workshop Agreement on Evaluation Capacity Development which is available for download on the website. These principles are intended to provide a basis for ongoing discussion about criteria for successful development of evaluation capacity and the attributes of quality evaluation practice.
A set of four key principles were identified that are believed to be both necessary and sufficient for sound and fair ECD interventions include: ownership, relevance, integration and usefulness.
It is important to distinguish between evaluation for accountability and evaluation for learning – a collaborative approach to evaluation that we call ‘evaluative learning’. This paper distills what TCC Group has learned about evaluative learning and provides information and tools to help you take next steps so everyone can ‘learn as we go’. Whether your organization is large and has many resources, or is small and operates on a limited budget and staff, you can use evaluation as a learning tool.
By Peter J. York
Originally published in 2003
“The use of Capability Maturity Models in financial management, project management, people management and information systems management in a wide variety of organisations indicates the potential for an Organisational Evaluation Capability Hierarchy to guide the self-diagnosis of organisations in building their evaluation maturity. This paper is about the theory behind this growing trend in organisational governance and organisational diagnosis, and explores its relevance to evaluation theory and practice. This theoretical analysis may have long-term practical benefits for evaluation practitioners, as is being developed in the fields of project management, financial management, and people management in a wide range of organisations.”
By Colin A. Sharp
Evaluation Journal of Australasia Vol 4 Nos 1 & 2 March/April 2005
“ALNAP has commissioned a process of action research, of which this paper is a part, focusing on strengthening institutional understanding as well as capacities and processes in order to better harness the power of [evaluations of humanitarian action] EHA… A central emerging lesson is that improving humanitarian evaluation capacities and processes is a complex undertaking that involves a wide range of actors and factors – including allocation of resources; engaging senior leaders; and realigning operational procedures…
Overarching issues of leadership, culture and structure are presented first, followed by issues of purpose and policy. Next are more specific evaluation processes and systems. The fourth and final capacity area is supporting processes and mechanisms, some of which are of wider relevance, and do not relate solely to evaluations. Effective capacity building requires attention at all levels of the framework, with much inter-dependence between them.”
by Alistair Hallam