Competencies for Canadian Evaluators

The Canadian Evaluation Society Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice (2018) 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. In 2017-18, the Competencies Review Working Group updated the Competencies to respond to evolution of the field; it also took this opportunity to streamline and clarify the competency statements.

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.

There are 36 competencies in five domains:

1. Reflective Practice competencies focus on the evaluator’s knowledge of evaluation theory and practice; application of evaluation standards, guidelines, and ethics; and awareness of self, including reflection on one’s practice and the need for continuous learning and professional growth.

1.1 Knows evaluation theories, models, methods and tools and stays informed about new thinking and best practices.
1.2 Integrates the Canadian/US Joint Committee Program Evaluation Standards in professional practice.
1.3 Integrates the Canadian Evaluation Society's stated ethics in professional practice and ensures that ethical oversight is maintained throughout the evaluation.
1.4 Considers the well-being of human and natural systems in evaluation practice.
1.5 Provides an independent and balanced perspective in all aspects of the evaluation.
1.6 Is committed to transparency in all aspects of the evaluation.
1.7 Uses self-awareness and reflective thinking to continually improve practice.
1.8 Engages in professional networks and activities and contributes to the evaluation profession and its community of practice.

2. Technical Practice competencies focus on the strategic, methodological, and interpretive decisions required to conduct an evaluation.

2.1 Clarifies the purpose and scope of the evaluation.
2.2 Assesses program evaluability.
2.3 Clarifies the program theory.
2.4 Frames evaluation topics and questions.
2.5 Develops evaluation designs.
2.6 Uses appropriate evaluation methods.
2.7 Identifies data requirements, sources, sampling, and data collection tools.
2.8 Collects, analyzes and interprets data using appropriate methods.
2.9 Uses findings to answer evaluation questions and, where appropriate, to develop recommendations.
2.10 Produces complete and balanced evaluation reporting to support decision-making and learning.

3. Situational Practice competencies focus on understanding, analyzing, and attending to the many circumstances that make every evaluation unique, including culture, stakeholders, and context.

3.1 Examines and responds to the multiple human and natural contexts within which the program is embedded.
3.2 Identifies stakeholders’ needs and their capacity to participate, while recognizing, respecting, and responding to aspects of diversity.
3.3 Respects all stakeholders and strives to build and maintain trusting relationships.
3.4 Promotes and facilitates usefulness of the evaluation process and results.
3.5. Identifies and responds to changes in the context of the program and considers potential positive and negative impacts of the evaluation.
3.6 Engages in reciprocal processes in which evaluation knowledge and expertise are shared between the evaluator and stakeholders to enhance evaluation capacity for all.
3.7 Uses evaluation processes and practices that support reconciliation and build stronger relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

4. Management Practice competencies focus on applying sound project management skills throughout the evaluation project.

4.1 Provides leadership to the evaluation project.
4.2 Defines work parameters, plans and agreements for the evaluation.
4.3 Identifies and effectively uses required human, financial, and technical resources.
4.4 Coordinates the work of other team members.
4.5 Uses group management and facilitation skills.
4.6 Communicates project progress to all concerned.

5. Interpersonal Practice competencies focus on the social and personal skills required to communicate and interact effectively with all stakeholders.

5.1. Uses communication strategies appropriate to the cultural, linguistic, social, and political context.
5.2 Demonstrates effective and appropriate written and visual communication skills.
5.3 Demonstrates effective, appropriate, and respectful verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
5.4 Uses a variety of processes that result in mutually negotiated agreements, shared understandings and consensus building.
5.5 Builds partnerships within the evaluation context.

 

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

The 2010 version of The Canadian Evaluation Society Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice is available for reference.