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Volume 29, 2014 - Special Issue

Introduction to Professionalization of Evaluation in Canada / Introduction à la professionnalisation de l'évaluation au Canada

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v-xv

(no abstract available)

Building the Foundation for the CES Professional Designation Program

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1-20

This article provides the historical and conceptual context of the CES professional designation program. It highlights the noteworthy debates, controversies, and deliberations in Canada and the United States that culminated in the decision by CES National Council to find a feasible approach to professional designation. The article outlines the crucial contributions of key CES initiatives, such as the Essential Skills Series, Core Body of Knowledge Project, and Member Surveys, by drawing on the experience of those CES members who led these efforts.

Professional Standards for Evaluators: The Development of an Action Plan for the Canadian Evaluation Society

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21-32

The National Council of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) recognized a need to designate a professional status for the practice of evaluation for individuals who meet appropriate criteria. A consortium of experienced CES members developed an Action Plan with policy options based on (a) a literature review, (b) consultations with relevant professional organizations, (c) knowledge and experience brought by consortium members, and (d) the 2005 Survey of Evaluation Practice and Issues in Canada. The Action Plan recommended three successive levels of professional designation, each with progressively more demanding criteria. Out of this plan, the CES adopted the Credentialed Evaluator designation.

A Made-in-Canada Credential: Developing an Evaluation Professional Designation

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33-53

Following extensive research and consultations, the governing body of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) announced in October 2007 "that there is member support to pursue a system of professional designations for evaluators in Canada." Some 19 months later it introduced a new voluntary service for its members, a Credentialed Evaluator (CE) designation. From an acknowledged bias of one of the CE architects, this article refl ects on its development, what it is, and how context and process importantly shaped this unique evaluation professional designation. Discussions of the challenges encountered in the development process and the opportunities going forward aim to contribute to the future of the CE designation in Canada and to the growing international interest in and discourse on professionalizing evaluation.

The Development and Initial Validation of Competencies and Descriptors for Canadian Evaluation Practice

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54-69

This article presents the Canadian experience of establishing competencies as part of a professional designation project. First we discuss the foundations of the competencies, including the preliminary work of compiling a cross-walk of evaluator competencies, a document that then served as the basis for consultations across Canada. The next steps were to extract five broad themes or competency domains, each containing specific competencies, and to develop descriptors for each competency. A group of Canadian evaluation experts was then asked to rate the competencies and their descriptors. The results of this preliminary validation exercise are highlighted. To conclude, we note how the competencies and their descriptors are currently being used and look ahead to next steps.

Launching the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Designation

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70-85

How do you make a professional designation program happen within one year? What resources, processes, systems, and structures are required? This article describes how the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) implemented its national Credentialed Evaluator (CE) program through the dedication of volunteer members of the CES. The interdisciplinary nature of evaluation practice shaped the development of systems, policy, administrative procedures, governance, and management for the credentialing process. Consideration of political issues and communication with the stakeholder community were essential to the credibility of the implementation process.

View from the Credentialing Board: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

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86-97

The Credentialing Board is a group of senior evaluators whose role is to consider the merits of each application for the Credentialed Evaluator designation and to provide input regarding the ongoing development of the program. This article recounts the four-year history of the Board, describes its processes, and analyzes its challenges. On the basis of a file review, a survey of Board members, in-depth interviews, and the authors' own experiences, it is concluded that the Board has successfully tackled its responsibility but that there is still room for improvement.

The CES Professional Designations Program: Views from Members

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98-133

CES members were surveyed in April 2014 regarding professionalization issues and the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) program (a component of the CES Professional Designations Program). Analysis reported here is based on 654 completed questionnaires. Results suggest that members' attitudes and perceptions about the program are generally positive. Credentialed Evaluators appear to attribute improvements in their practice to the credential, and the sense of belonging to a profession is increasing. Factors other than the credentialing program may have influenced the variables of interest. The study points to some crucial challenges facing the designations program for reaching its entire intended community.

From the Outside, Looking In with a Smile: A Summary and Discussion of CES's Credentialed Evaluator Designation

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134-153

Drawing upon information presented in this issue, the article discusses the CES's Credentialed Evaluator designation using three frameworks: the Context, Inputs, Processes, and Products (CIPP) model to provide an overview of the program; developmental evaluation to examine key events and principles in the program's evolution; and adaptive action to raise issues both for the CES as it revises the program and for others around the world as they consider the possible benefits and risks of establishing evaluator credentialing programs. The Credentialed Evaluator designation has provided proof of concept for a viable evaluator credentialing system run by a voluntary organization of professional evaluators (VOPE). Specific considerations in moving forward in settings beyond Canada include the following: (a) the exercise of caution when using evaluator competencies to structure a credentialing program, (b) the importance of a perceived need for or value of a credential, (c) skillful attention to milieu, (d) finding qualified and committed people to develop and manage the program, and (e) ensuring that all stakeholders, including those outside the profession, are involved.

A Point of No Return Finally Reached: The Journey Ahead

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154-159

By offering a collective approach to the guidance of evaluation practice in Canada, the CES designation program creates a new environment for program evaluators. Its identification of competencies related to program evaluation and its requirement for ongoing professional development should facilitate the successful application of evaluation theories and models. This, in turn, is bound to enhance the quality of program evaluation and its relevance as an effective management and decision-making tool.