Evaluation Inspirations

Predicting the Future of Evaluation: Michael Scriven Podcast Review

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Kylie Hutchinson and James Coyle for a remarkable podcast with one of the modern day fathers of evaluation, Michael Scriven. If you haven’t listened to the podcast please give it a listen! The Future of Evaluation-A Chat with Michael Scriven small-4 Paraphrased highlights:

  • Evaluation has a transdisciplinary nature; this is well agreed upon. Think about it, how many evaluators do you know? What is their academic/professional background? This can be extremely different from person to person.
  • Many disciplines have a “upward” trend in development and innovation based on people, philosophy, theory, etc. In comparison to other disciplines, evaluation, has just started making great strides in these areas. AEA and other professional associations of evaluation are helping to keep the discipline of evaluation relevant and alive.
  • Methodology is needed for doing evaluation properly. Many in the social sciences aren’t doing it right. Based on my social sciences background and experience working with evaluators with a related background I’d have to agree.
  • Omega phase: when evaluation takes on ethics not only in everyday evaluation work, but large scale evaluations with implications for the public welfare of others. This is the “glory land”. We have a huge responsibility here people, it’s in the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.

“You’re going on a train and you didn’t check the destination…”

-Michael Scriven

In the podcast Scriven notes that the evaluation train has some remarkable places where it will stop and you will have to show your pass to demonstrate that you can get through the pass control. Oh, the places we can go!



According to Scriven, we are even needed in the evaluation of quality control in other disciplines. By using concepts they are familiar with, such as passing tests of consistency and test-retest reliability we can really bridge a gap here.

Did you know: Michael Scriven’s heroes include magicians…(learn why by listening to the podcast!)

In alignment with the train analogies and my quest for continuous improvement…I’m going to quote one of my heroes, I hope he doesn’t mind:

“I think I can, I think I can…I know I can!”

-The Little Engine That Could

Learn more about another father of evaluation: Paying Homage:Ralph Tyler “The Father of Education Evaluation”-Part 1


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