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Competencies for Canadian Evaluators

The Canadian Evaluation Society Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice provides a suite of competencies for evaluation work in Canada. Competencies are defined as "the background, knowledge, skills, and dispositions program evaluators need to achieve standards that constitute sound evaluations." (Stevahn et al, 2005) [1]. The Competencies were developed through research, member consultation and expert validation processes that were conducted in 2008 and 2009 to fit the Canadian context.

While the Competencies were developed as part of the Credentialing Program of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES), they provide a much broader foundation for the evaluation community. They can be used as a foundation for:

  1. Developing training programs and deciding what skills and knowledge to incorporate in a learning event;
  2. Self assessment by evaluators to decide what professional development they want to pursue;
  3. Designing jobs, writing job descriptions when deciding to employ evaluation expertise;
  4. Developing Requests for Proposals, Statements of Work, or Terms of Reference when contracting for evaluation services;
  5. And supporting decisions made in the Credentialing Program.

Competencies are not static. The skills and knowledge in any profession or discipline grows and evolves over time, and they are influenced by new research and changing environmental circumstances. There is a need to review and renew these definitional components of Canadian evaluation work on a systematic basis.

The Competencies have been adapted from work by King et al (2001) [2] and include the following:

  1. Reflective Practice competencies focus on the fundamental norms and values underlying evaluation practice and awareness of one's evaluation expertise and needs for growth.
    1. Applies professional evaluation standards
    2. Acts ethically and strives for integrity and honesty
    3. Respects all stakeholders
    4. Considers human rights and the public welfare in evaluation practice
    5. Provides independent and impartial perspective
    6. Aware of self as an evaluator (knowledge, skills, dispositions) and reflects on personal evaluation practice (competencies and areas for growth)
    7. Pursues professional networks and self development to enhance evaluation practice
  2. Technical Practice competencies focus on the specialized aspects of evaluation, such as design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting.
    1. Understands the knowledge base of evaluation (theories, models, types, methods and tools)
    2. Specifies program theory
    3. Determines the purpose for the evaluation
    4. Determines program evaluability
    5. Frames evaluation questions
    6. Develops evaluation designs
    7. Defines evaluation methods (quantitative, qualitative or mixed)
    8. Identifies data sources
    9. Develops reliable and valid measures/tools
    10. Collects data
    11. Assesses validity of data
    12. Assesses reliability of data
    13. Assesses trustworthiness of data
    14. Analyzes and interprets data
    15. Draws conclusions and makes recommendations
    16. Reports evaluation findings and results
  3. Situational Practice competencies focus on the application of evaluative thinking in analyzing and attending to the unique interests, issues, and contextual circumstances in which evaluation skills are being applied.
    1. Respects the uniqueness of the site
    2. Examines organizational, political, community and social contexts
    3. Identifies impacted stakeholders
    4. Identifies the interests of all stakeholders
    5. Serves the information needs of intended users
    6. Attends to issues of evaluation use
    7. Attends to issues of organizational and environmental change
    8. Applies evaluation competencies to organization and program measurement challenges
    9. Shares evaluation expertise
  4. Management Practice competencies focus on the process of managing a project / evaluation, such as budgeting, coordinating resources and supervising.
    1. Defines work parameters, plans and agreements
    2. Attends to issues of evaluation feasibility
    3. Identifies required resources (human, financial and physical)
    4. Monitors resources (human, financial and physical)
    5. Coordinates and supervises others
    6. Reports on progress and results
    7. Identifies and mitigates problems / issues
  5. Interpersonal Practice competencies focus on people skills, such as communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, collaboration, and diversity.
    1. Uses written communication skills and technologies
    2. Uses verbal communication skills
    3. Uses listening skills
    4. Uses negotiation skills
    5. Uses conflict resolution skills
    6. Uses facilitation skills (group work)
    7. Uses interpersonal skills (individual and teams)
    8. Uses collaboration / partnering skills
    9. Attends to issues of diversity and culture
    10. Demonstrates professional credibility

[1] Stevahn, L, King, J., Ghere, G., & Minnema, J.,(2005). Establishing essential competencies for program evaluatorsAmerican Journal of Evaluation, 26(2), 43-59.

[2] King, J.A., Stevahn, L. Ghere, G., & Minnema, J. (2001). Toward a taxonomy of essential evaluator competencies. American Journal of Evaluation, 22(2), 229-247.