The Evaluation Policy Task Force

The Evaluation Policy Task Force is appointed to assist AEA in developing an ongoing capability to influence evaluation policies that are critically important to the practice of evaluation. The following outlines the intended scope of this work.

  • Focus on Evaluation Policies. The Evaluation Policy Task Force should focus on evaluation policy, rather than policy in general. 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 Task Force effort. Instead, the Task Force should concentrate on evaluation policies. Examples of general areas of evaluation policy might include (although may not be limited to) policies regarding:
    • 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?
  • Focus on U.S. Federal Evaluation Policy. At least initially, it would be desirable to focus this Task Force on the Federal level because evaluation policy decisions at that level have broad implications for many AEA members and for the field generally. It may be possible in the future to expand this effort to other arenas (nonprofits, state governments, businesses, international, etc.), but we expect that initially at least the effort will be focused on Federal policy.
  • Target Only a Few Specific Legislative and Executive Policies. It will be necessary to limit the effort to one or two potentially important evaluation policy formulation opportunities on both the congressional and administrative side of the Federal government. For instance, we might identify one or two major pieces of legislation and one or two areas where administrative regulations are likely over the next few years.
  • Focus on Selected Substantive Areas. The workgroup anticipates that it will be necessary to focus the Task Force’s work on evaluation policy within a limited set of substantive areas. For instance, the fields of education and health evaluation are areas of primary interest to a broad range of AEA members where AEA could build on its current strengths. The Task Force should focus its evaluation policy shaping activities in substantive areas such as these that are related to AEA’s history and current emphases.
  • Be Appropriately Opportunistic. Given the preceding thoughts about limiting the Task Force’s work, we recognize the value of remaining flexible and of responding (thoughtfully and selectively) as unexpected opportunities arise that might fall outside the stated initial scope. The Task Force should look to take advantage of such opportunities and should consult with the AEA Board as such arise.

The Evaluation Policy Task Force Members

Nick Hart (Chair)

Katrina Bledsoe

Katherine Dawes

George Julnes

Mel Mark

Kathryn Newcomer

Stephanie Shipman

Thomas Chapel

Diana Epstein

Demetra Nightingale

Lisa Aponte-Soto

Biance Montrosse-Morehead

Anisha Lewis (AEA Executive Director)

The Evaluation Policy Taskforce is appointed by the Board of Directors. Contact AEA at to learn more about the taskforce or express interest in joining.