Research on Professionalizing Evaluation - The Case of the Canadian Evaluation Society's Credentialed Evaluator Designation

Session Number: 1476
Track: Research on Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Nicole Galport [Research & Evaluation Associate - Claremont Graduate University; Cobblestone Applied Research & Evaluation, Inc.]
Discussant: Stewart Donaldson [Dean & Director - Claremont Graduate University]
Presenter 1: Benoit Gauthier, CE [President - Circum Network Inc.]
Presenter 2: Leslie Ann Fierro [Assistant Clinical Professor of Evaluation - Claremont Graduate University]
Presenter 3: Gail Vallance Barrington, PhD, FCMC, CE [President - Barrington Research Group, Inc.]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (01:45 PM - 03:15 PM)
Room: L508

Abstract 1 Title: Why did the CES need a professional designation?
Presentation Abstract 1:

Our first presenter will provide the context in which the Credentialed Evaluator professional designation of the Canadian Evaluation Society was conceived and designed. He will highlight the arguments raised to justify its relevance as well as the resistance that it caused at the outset and how this was factored into the design of the program. He will describe the credentialing process and infrastructure, and how it evolved over time. He will situate the designation among the various CES strategic initiatives, demonstrating that this program has exerted substantial structuring influence over the Society. Finally, this speaker will explore how the success of the Credentialing Program is defined within the CES.

Abstract 2 Title: The Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Designation Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 2:

In this presentation we will report on the methodology and findings from the first external evaluation study of the CE Designation. The speaker will dedicate the majority of this presentation to a discussion of the key findings associated with five areas of focus requested for this evaluation – effectiveness, relevance/utility, efficiency, unintended impacts, and sustainability. Findings from the study that have the potential to inform a broader dialogue about the relevance, utility, and feasibility of supporting a credentialing process within other Volunteer Organizations for Professional Evaluators will be emphasized. Additionally, the presenter will describe the unique experience of evaluating a program designed and implemented by evaluators and highlight some key lessons learned from acting as an external evaluator to a nation that shares a border.

Abstract 3 Title: Green Light/Red Light: Looking at the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Designation Evaluation Findings
Presentation Abstract 3:

Leaders from the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) Board of Directors and the Credentialing Board (CB) established self-organizing teams to review the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Designation Program Evaluation Report. Each of the five teams used a specific lens to assess the findings, including 1) PDP administration, 2) CE professional development and maintenance, 3) CB functioning, 4) CE promotion, and 5) Cost benefit. The teams considered issues, priorities and possible future direction from three perspectives: 1) Green Light topics such as internal strengths, external opportunities, and supports for sustainability and value added; 2) Red or Yellow Light topics such as negative findings, internal program weaknesses and external threats to CE program objectives; and 3) Needed changes, including areas for growth, innovation, and urgent action. This presentation will summarize the results of these deliberations and will describe on-going plans and developments to date.

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Professionalizing evaluation, in particular the potential advantages of pursuing accreditation, certification, or credentialing, has been hotly debated for several decades (Altschuld & Engle, 2015).  Typically these debates have taken the form of thought experiments by members of Volunteer Organizations for Professional Evaluators with little to no empirical evidence from actual implementation efforts to support the arguments. With the launching of the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) professional designation by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) in June 2009 and a subsequent formative evaluation of the designation by the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) in 2015-2016 there are now empirical insights to inform our community’s discussion. Presenters will share an overview and history of the CE designation, key findings from the evaluation study, and actions taken by CES. The discussant will facilitate a lively discussion among attendees and panelists regarding the generalizability of the study findings to other contexts such as the U.S.