Sheila B Robinson

Reflections of an everyday educator/program evaluator/professional developer…LEARNER


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Paradox Redux: A Pleasant Surprise

A few weeks ago, I wrote Exploring the Public Education Paradox – Evaluation and Public Education (response to Jamie Clearfield). Soon after bemoaning the apparent lack of understanding of evaluation and its role in public education, I was delighted to find a chapter devoted to program evaluation in an education book I’m reading with my colleagues.  I was even more excited to discover a section on theory of change and logic model. Seldom (if ever) have I seen these concepts addressed outside of an evaluation text.

The book is Coaching Matters*, a text on PK-12 teacher leadership, and is described by its authors as addressing “…whether coaching matters. In other words, does it work?” My point here is not to offer a book review, but rather to revel in the fact that a book written for educational pracitioners is framed by evaluative thinking!  Continue reading


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Checklists, and Protocols, and Rubrics…oh My! Evidence without Anguish?

Effective evaluation requires evidence. Documentation and data are the lifeblood of evidence. How can an evidence-based organizational culture balance the need to feed on the artifacts of work and other outputs and still respect the responsibilities of those producing them? How can we collect rich and meaningful data that informs our work and helps us make effective programmatic decisions while reducing respondent burden?

We are a data-hungry yet over-surveyed over-observed over-interviewed generation of workers. While data collection and analysis continue to grow and embed themselves into the fibers of organizational culture until they are indistinguishable from the “work,” are they considered the crabgrass or the crocuses? Insidious or delightful? Do they help or hinder the work?  Continue reading


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Thinking About Evaluative Thinking…in my own backyard!

Confucius said: Learning without thought is labor lost. Thought without learning is perilous. I have been thinking about evaluative thinking. And exploring. And reading. And of course, learning. And I’m finding the same old story: as with most other evaluation-related terminology, there’s no one accepted definition of evaluative thinking. But, I did find two amazing resources:  Continue reading