In September I was honoured to give the initial keynote address at the 2017 Australasian Evaluation Society meeting in Canberra. I am thankful for the opportunity and for the warm response my keynote received.
I express my pessimism, maybe even cynicism, about the extent to which evaluation has contributed to the public good, by which I mean the well-being of all people, globally, manifested in things such as food security, healthcare, education, clean water, adequate housing. I offered some hopeful suggestions about how evaluation as a practice might do better in its contribution to the public good.
This talk has been translated to French and has been published in La Vigie de l’évaluation and can be accessed here. It will soon be published in English and I will post a link here soon.
I also appreciate the media coverage this talk received in the Mandarin, an independent online newspaper devoted to government policy and practice in Australia. Click here for a link to that story, “Whoever Heard of an Independent Evaluation Keynote Tell It Like It Is?”
The International Studies Association (political science folks) is discussing a proposal to ban Association journal editors, editorial board members and anyone associated with its journals from blogging. Here is the language:
“No editor of any ISA journal or member of any editorial team of an ISA journal can create or actively manage a blog unless it is an official blog of the editor’s journal or the editorial team’s journal,” the proposal reads. “This policy requires that all editors and members of editorial teams to apply this aspect of the Code of Conduct to their ISA journal commitments. All editorial members, both the Editor in Chief(s) and the board of editors/editorial teams, should maintain a complete separation of their journal responsibilities and their blog associations.”
Singling out blogs, but no other social media or letters to the editor or op eds, the ISA asserts that blogging is some how unseemly, that it is a kind of discourse that is not proper professional behavior, and that if one blogs one is likely to sink into some abyss losing a grasp on one’s dignity and respectability.
At best this proposal is quaint, a desire for a past when professors stayed in their offices and wrote for and engaged with their peers through narrow publication channels (like the ISA journals). At worst, this is a draconian effort to challenge academic freedom, to squelch professors’ engagement in public life, and to control access to knowledge. The silliness of this proposal does little to obviate its threat to civic engagement of scholars, both the activist minded and those who understand the world is bigger than the university campus.
Elliot Eisner brought the concepts of connoisseurship and criticism from the world of art to enable new ways of thinking about educational evaluation. He died at home on January 10, 2014 and the field of evaluation has lost an important founding thinker.
In 1976, Eisner made an observation that is as true today as it was then,
First, the forms of evaluation that are now employed to assess the effectiveness of school programs have profound consequences upon the character of teaching, the content of curriculum, and the kinds of goals that schools seek to attain. Evaluation procedures, more than a reasoned philosophy of education, influence the educational priorities at work within the schools. Second, these evaluation procedures rest upon largely unexamined assumptions that are basically scientific in their epistemology, technological in their application, and have consequences that are often limited and at times inhospitable to the kinds of goals the arts can achieve.
He went on to describe how connoisseurship and criticism, concepts from the arts through which he conceptualized the artistry of teaching and schooling as a cultural artifact both of which required appreciation (through connoisseurship) and critique (through articulation of the ineffable qualities of teaching, learning and schools).
Eisner’s The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs is a classic.
The evaluation community has lost a giant in the field. Professor Emeritus Barry MacDonald (Centre for Applied Research in Education,University of East Anglia) died on Monday 15th April.
He is known for the development of democratic evaluation, and was known to be provocative in his evaluation work and personal life.
Click here to hear Barry talk about CARE and evaluation work he was involved in.
See the conference website for more information.
For more details, click here.
What is the Kelly Conference?
The Edward F. Kelly Evaluation Conference is a graduate student organized regional evaluation conference, whose goal is to provide graduate students in the field of evaluation an opportunity to present original research and network with professionals in the field. This year the conference consists of two main components: A professional development workshop and presentations of student research. The Edward F. Kelly Conference originated at the University at Albany in 1987 in commemoration of beloved former faculty member Ed Kelly. Dr. Kelly founded the Evaluation Consortium on campus in collaboration with the School of Education in order to foster an authentic evaluation setting in which graduate students could work and learn alongside seasoned faculty members. The conference continues his commitment to providing authentic learning and research experiences to graduate students today.
The Edward F. Kelly Evaluation Conference is a graduate student organized regional evaluation conference, whose goal is to provide graduate students in the field of evaluation an opportunity to present original research and network with professionals in the field. This year the conference consists of two main components: A professional development workshop and presentations of student research.
The Edward F. Kelly Conference originated at the University at Albany in 1987 in commemoration of beloved former faculty member Ed Kelly. Dr. Kelly founded the Evaluation Consortium on campus in collaboration with the School of Education in order to foster an authentic evaluation setting in which graduate students could work and learn alongside seasoned faculty members. The conference continues his commitment to providing authentic learning and research experiences to graduate students today.
Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment
“Repositioning Culture in Evaluation and Assessment”
Hosted by the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 21-23, 2013
Call for Submissions
The purpose of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) Inaugural Conference is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the United States and internationally to focus on the role of culture in theory and practices of evaluation and assessment. The CREA conference will be unique in its definitive recognition of culture’s centrality to evaluation and assessment and will illuminate the landscape of culturally responsive evaluation and assessment, a space that remains largely uncharted. CREA specifically anticipates paper, symposia and roundtable submissions that address at least one of these four themes: 1) Defining culturally relevant assessment, 2) Documenting the use of culture in evaluation, 3) Pursuing social justice and, 4) Crossing cultural borders in evaluation and assessment. In addition, an international consortium of invited panels and speakers will address a diverse set of cultural viewpoints related to evaluation and assessment practice.
Visit the conference website.