Evaluation 2020

Exploring the Ecosystem: Mapping and Evaluating STEM Learning Pathways and Connections 

10-26-2020 15:09

In our increasingly complex and interconnected world, the importance of authentic, collaborative engagement with evaluation stakeholders is paramount in supporting the uptake and implementation of findings and recommendations. In this session, our group of panelists will share their experiences engaging diverse stakeholder groups—both within and across organizations—in the planning and implementation of evaluation studies that generate data and findings intended to support a wide range of organizational activities. The successes, challenges, and lessons learned that the panelists will share are of significant practical value to those in the field who may have faced, or will find themselves facing, the challenge of balancing diverse and potentially conflicting stakeholder needs and priorities. By establishing respectful and responsive shared data collection, analysis, and reporting approaches that are tailored to the specific contexts in which they are implemented, it has been our experience that evaluators position themselves to be systematic rather than scattered in their inquiry and to demonstrate the high level of competence and value that should be a hallmark of the field. Likewise, striking a balance between collaborative and evaluator-led approaches permits—indeed, requires—those evaluators involved in multi-stakeholder efforts to demonstrate integrity in balancing stakeholder needs and participant burden, while concurrently emphasizing respect for the people who are involved at each step of the process. All of these dynamic weave together in multi-stakeholder evaluation efforts, and if managed and navigated successfully, provide a powerful platform for resulting studies to advance the common good through equitable and meaningful outcomes for both participants and stakeholders. Engaging diverse stakeholder groups not only as collaborators with evaluators in designing measures and systems that might serve their needs, but as CO-collaborators whose individual interests, priorities, and requests may not be immediately congruent with one another, calls evaluators to develop and practice skills of mediation, listening, process facilitation, and personality management. When undertaken skillfully and successfully, however, these collaborative efforts position evaluators to make space for stakeholders who may not otherwise have been meaningfully engaged, allowing the light of new voices and perspectives to shine through.

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Uploaded - 10-26-2020