Evaluators are funny people. We like to evaluate everything, from programs, to ourselves, to our own evaluations.

I often ask myself, “How do I know my evaluation is working?” As an internal evaluator in a DC youth center, one of my tasks is to create an organizational culture of learning and reflection. So how would I evaluate my own process? How could I measure this learning culture?

Here’s one indicator:

This social worker found a bug in our database that was making one field of data, the gender field, not show up in the automated reports we’d created for him. He sent his own screensheet, added the arrows himself, and blocked out the client’s name to protect confidentiality.

Most importantly, he was using data to track his clients’ progress on his own and without nudging from evaluators, he was double-checking the report’s results against the data he’d entered, he was comfortable navigating our complex database, and he could use terms like “data field” to explain the issue to my teammate and I.

I feel like a proud mama bear every time this happens. 🙂