Workshop 8. International Evaluation Norms and Criteria in National Evaluation Contexts (Velayuthan Sivagnanasothy Memorial Workshop)


Trainer: Megan G. Kennedy-Chouane
Language: English
Level: Intermediate/advanced

Workshop description:

The session will begin with a short presentation of the history of evaluation principles, the Quality Standards for Development Evaluation, and the new definitions of six evaluation criteria.

In the context of a broader debate about the future of development evaluation, the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Network on Development Evaluation carried out an extensive global consultation process and approved updated definitions of and principles for use for six evaluation criteria: relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability. Our overall goal – in line with our mission – is to support better evaluation, which will in turn play a role in helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The criteria are being used far beyond the membership of the DAC to evaluate programmes and policies outside of development cooperation, including for national and local evaluations across the globe. While there is broad agreement on the strengths of the criteria (their simplicity, clarity, and broad applicability are especially appreciated), there is also room for improvement and clarification. Many challenges have to do with how the criteria are applied, more so than with the criteria themselves.

During this session, participants will be invited to share their own experiences and reflections on the criteria and their use in practical evaluation work. This will be a broad discussion to be inclusive of people with little or no experience directly with the OECD/DAC.

To connect with the overall conference themes, we will focus on how equity issues and “leaving no one behind” are incorporated throughout the criteria. This discussion will provide an opportunity to reveal broader dynamics in the evaluation and the role of evaluation in supporting the achievement of sustainable development goals. Following this introduction, we will present the revised evaluation criteria definitions. In a series of a fishbowl–style working sessions we will elaborate example questions for each criterion applied to a real-world example from the COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition.

The second half of the training will focus on how the criteria are used in practice. Each participant will be asked to use a real-life example from their work to apply the learning throughout the session. This will be supported with a one-page worksheet (shared in advance) to get the participants started thinking about their example. We will have multiple individual and small group working sessions to apply the concepts and test understanding.

  • For policymakers and line ministry staff, we will focus on how to read evaluation reports, and how to articulate their learning and accountability needs using the criteria.
  • For evaluation consultants and practitioners we will focus on understanding evaluation terms of reference and questions, and identifying approaches and methods for answering questions related to each criteria.
  • For evaluation managers and commissioners we will focus on how to ensure terms of reference describe the criteria clearly and usefully to meet the needs of the evaluation audience. We will also look at how to communicate evaluation findings around each criteria.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completing this course, all participants will be able to:

  • Fully understand how each criterion is defined and what it means in different contexts relevant to their day-to-day work.
  • Explain the evaluation criteria – relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability – using either plain language or technical language to help different audiences understand the evaluation.
  • Use the criteria in their work and feel comfortable distinguishing between evaluation criteria and formulating good evaluation questions.
  • Be more effective in evaluating interventions and communicating about evaluations to support learning and accountability in their own context.