Developmental Evaluation

For many years evaluation practice has tended to focus on three broad purposes.  Formative evaluation is used to help improve a program or policy.  Summative evaluation is employed to judge the merit or worth of a program or policy to determine whether it should be sustained, discontinued or scaled up.  Accountability evaluation is used to assess the extent to which an organization or group is ‘implementing a detailed model with fidelity’ to an already approved – often rigid – blueprint.

There are, however, plenty of ‘developmental’ situations where neither formative, summative or accountability evaluation are appropriate and may even be counterproductive. These include: creating an entirely new program or policy out of thin air, adapting a proven program or policy in a fast moving environment, importing a program or policy that proved effective in once context into a new one, scaling up a successful model, dealing with complex issues where solutions are uncertain and/or stakeholders are not on the same page.

This workshop will introduce participants to the key concepts, principles and practices of developmental evaluation – a new and fast growing approach to helping decision-makers navigate developmental situations with rapid feedback, critical thinking and rigour sense-making – and share some emerging resources that they may find helpful in their own work.