How do people evaluate in daily life? This issue broaches this topic to better understand this dimension of being human, to develop evaluation theory, and to improve extraprofessional and professional evaluation practice. As part of a larger study addressing these issues in the lives of many professional evaluators around the world, case studies of seven early evaluation theorists and practitioners from North America were conducted. This issue contains articles with stories of some of their evaluation life experiences told and interpreted by these individuals, with commentary by an eighth evaluator. Themes that cross the cases are proposed, and responses by the individuals highlighted are shared in a final article.
This is the 150th issue in the New Directions for Evaluation series from Jossey-Bass. It is an official publication of the American Evaluation Association.
About the Author
David D. Williams is a professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University.
Table of Contents
EDITOR’S NOTES 7 David D. Williams
1. Are My Professional Evaluation Dispositions to be Found in my Early Life Experiences? 17 Robert E. StakeStake identifies opposing views of evaluation held by his parents and reflects on ordinary evaluation decisions he made about getting married, going to graduate school, and raising children, while concluding he does not see much connection between his extraprofessional and professional evaluations.
2. Bunts, Bloop Singles, Sacrifices, Hard Base Running, and Lots of Luck 25 Marvin C. AlkinAlkin describes his father’s influence on his values and extraprofessional evaluations and gives examples of evaluation experiences he had as a teacher and counselor, a university student, a new faculty member, and a home buyer—all before or while learning about and working in the field of evaluation.
3. Thoughts About an Early Evaluation Life 33 Michael ScrivenScriven describes how he believes the early death of his father, constant intercontinental moving he experienced as a child, and associated fractures in relationships he began with peers influenced his “attitude towards the value of reason,” which is his “main professional area of publication and evaluation.”
4. Factors That Influenced My Conduct of Evaluations and Evaluation Training Programs 41 Daniel L. StufflebeamStufflebeam notes some of the fundamental values he learned from his parents’ examples and efforts to help him develop these values as a child growing up during the Depression, experiences as a substitute teacher in Chicago, and other extraprofessional evaluation experiences. Then he connects them to his decades of developing his professional evaluation practices and teaching others to evaluate.
5. Probing the Past to Understand the Present: Can We Relate Early Training and Life Experience to our Evaluative Orientations? 51 Eleanor ChelimskyChelimsky explores the influence her parents had on her values and elaborates on the influence she feels that her career in piano performance and her experiences living in Paris, France had on her evolving extraprofessional evaluation life and her professional evaluation experiences in her later career.
6. Childhood Influences on My Work 65 Ernie HouseHouse tells stories about his childhood experiences with adults who were making what he felt were poor evaluations and how he developed his own views about how evaluation could be most fairly and appropriately accomplished in everyday life. He explains how he retained a healthy skepticism that also typifies all his professional work.
7. From Evangelist to Utilization-Focused Evaluator 69 Michael Quinn PattonPatton tells stories about how he became a youth revivalist, a missionary for his church, and then a humanist. He makes connections between these experiences and his utilization-focused approach to evaluation.
8. Autobiography as Case Study 77 Saville KushnerKushner comments on the rest of this issue and offers suggestions for the future of evaluation.
9. Connections, Themes, and Implications for the Future of Evaluation 85 David D. WilliamsWilliams explores some of the unique and common connections the seven pioneer evaluators have made between their extraprofessional and professional evaluation lives. The seven authors review their colleagues’ articles and offer responses. Readers are invited to think about possible implications for their own and their clients’ evaluation lives and to relate to evaluation less as a technology and more as a values-based activity involving their own values and those of other participants in their evaluations.