There are times when the purpose of evaluation seems to get lost in the shuffle in a rush to get a program off the ground or a product out the door. In those cases, evaluation can feel like a necessary evil rather than an important step of the overall process.
I wanted to start the year off with a motto that could help me remember the importance of what I do, so that I can help clients (and potential clients) see the inherent value of evaluation as well. In my quest for that motto, I stumbled across this oldie but goodie: “That which is measured improves” – rumored to have been said by Karl Pearson a statistician. Sometimes referred to as “Pearson’s Law” I think this quote sums up one of the important benefits of evaluation – i.e., its potential for making something even better.
In the absence of measurement, we arguably don’t know if there has been improvement. As the old “G.I. Joe” saying goes, “knowing is half the battle,” but, I like the implied assertion in Pearson’s Law that the act of measurement may foster and help to facilitate improvement. That’s what I seek to do as an evaluator: help make everything the best it can be!