967 Sunset View Road, Colchester, VT 05446                802-363-7732                                 Bud.Meyers@uvm.edu

Evaluation focuses attention.  It pinpoints needs and directs attention to critical issues.  When your project uses evaluation effectively, there is a clear attention to what to achieve and why.  If, for example, a team knows that their goal is to improve group decision-making, they can change their behavior accordingly.  If they know they will be evaluated specifically on those behaviors, the impetus is greater..

Evaluation provides a continuous basis for investment decisions.

by you, your staff, clients, and funding agencies.  Most project outcomes are works in progress. Sound evaluation design that accounts for both the effort you make and the project's current context enables you and your stakeholders to view progress on a continuum.

Evaluation supports ongoing learning. It can be used to fine-tune a proposed or existing intervention.  It can provide constructive observations to guide a project's evolution.  Once a project is established, evaluation continues to contribute by assisting project leaders to optimize their resources. Just as important, evaluation contributes to a learning mindset -- a perspective that values asking questions, assuming multiple perspectives and challenging assumptions.

Evaluation clarifies outcomes.  It helps us better understand and document desired outcomes. It encourages more comprehensive discussion of what works and why.  Evaluation systematizes large concepts and separates real outcomes from wishful thinking, slogans, and vague aspirations.

Our beliefs about evaluation and the value we can add  . . .