Evaluation

 

Tamra d'Estrée

Conflict Resolution Program, University of Denver

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003


This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: It's a shift in order from the sort of intuitive conception of how you would design something because you think evaluation comes last. Okay, how did we do, let's look back and see how we did. And you say wait a minute, evaluation in a sense comes first. Or at least knowing what you're going to evaluate should come right at the outset not at the end.

A: Right, and you know, maybe evaluation is a word that gets in people's way because people usually do think of it as being something at the end and something that's judgmental.

Q: And a surprise, what are they going to look at?

A: Whereas if you're doing the evaluation for yourself, to improve your practice, then you already know what you're going to evaluate yourself on. Or you may intuitively know and it's actually better to think about it explicitly, ahead of time. But there's also that kind of self-reflective dimension of it too.

I think there's also another dynamic that can be useful that can be set up if people as a field or as a group of practitioners say not only are we going to be evaluating ourselves on if we achieved this one level of change, but we're going to be trying to track and see if we see this second level. Then if you know, in a sense it starts to send a message to everyone that everyone is going to be looking at this too. You know what I'm saying. Again, people tend to work toward things that they know are going to be looked at. If it's going to be looked at then I'm going to do it. It's a funny dynamic.

Q: Yeah, well, in a sense it can be a focusing tool instead of a sort of punishing tool.

A: Right, that's a great way to frame it, as a focusing tool, because I think that that's really what the value of evaluation can be for the field. It can be seen as the ability to be explicit and articulate about what it is you're trying to do, and to focus you so that you're doing what you want to do. Not worrying about what you aren't intending to do or what you don't want to do. It definitely can be a way to focus your practice, focus your intervention, focus your thinking and what you're trying to achieve.