Evaluation Policy Initiative

AEA is committed to the development and adoption of evaluation policies in program development that ensure the sound, context-sensitive use of evaluation and engagement of evaluators. While evaluation can help inform substantive policies in a wide range of areas, and this is a recognized central purpose for much evaluation, influencing substantive policy is not the emphasis of this effort. Instead, the effort is focused on evaluation policies. Examples of areas of concern around evaluation policy include:

Evaluation definition. How, if at all, is evaluation defined in an agency or in legislation? In such contexts, how is evaluation formally distinguished from or related to other functions such as program planning, monitoring, performance measurement or implementation?

Requirements of evaluation. When are evaluations required? What programs or entities are required to have evaluations? How often are evaluations scheduled? What procedures are used to determine when or whether evaluation takes place?

Evaluation methods. What approaches or methods of evaluation are recommended or required by legislation or regulation, for what types of programs or initiatives?

Human resources regarding evaluation. What requirements exist for people who conduct evaluations? What types of training, experience or background are required?

Evaluation budgets. What are the standards for budgeting for evaluation work?

Evaluation implementation. What types of evaluation implementation issues are guided by policies? For instance, when are internal versus external evaluations required and how are these defined?

Evaluation ethics. What are the policies for addressing ethical issues in evaluation?

Through the Evaluation Policy Task Force and Evaluation Policy TIG, AEA brings together researchers, evaluators, policy writers, and organizational leaders for meaningful dialogue around the need for and impact of evaluation policies. AEA is tapped into the federal policy landscape in a deep and influential way. Through our advocacy efforts, we seek to improve government programs and their societal impact through evaluation and data best practices.