Sheila B Robinson

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


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A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit…

…and a pebble in the hand of a fool. These are not my words, but those of Joseph Roux, a French Catholic parish priest, poet, and philologist.

In this post, I’ll share a collection of quotations related to evaluation. Now, I’m hardly the first blogger to post of list of favorite quotes. Admittedly, though, I spend more time collecting writing than producing it, although I do love engaging in the latter. And in thinking back to an early post in which I studied reasons other evaluation bloggers blog, I remembered that several do so to create a repository of their work and ideas. As I’m a collector/curator at heart, this blog will soon become my repository.  Continue reading


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Chart Changin’ Cha-Cha

As mentioned here, I’m learning about the art of data visualization and presentation, and am currently enrolled and engrossed in Alberto Cairo’s Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization MOOC*  and loving it.

Professor Cairo has shared a wealth of information graphics for my 4,999 classmates and me to study and critique as he enlightens us on principles of graphic design. New York Times Infographics  is one great site to explore the variety of graphics designers use to convey information.  Continue reading


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“They say that numbers never lie…”

This portentous first line inside the dust jacket of Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife sets the hook for the reader. The author  then reels us in with a cynical assessment of how numbers are used to do exactly that. In fact, it might be said that Seife’s position is, as a variation of an old aphorism goes, “figures lie and liars figure.”

I don’t intend to provide a book review here; you can easily find them elsewhere. Instead, I will share just a brief excerpt of what I found particularly interesting and well-written. As you can see, this book passed the “tape flag test” for me, meaning there are plenty parts I intend to reread or share.  Continue reading


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Like an evaluator in a data store…

I got to thinking about what I love about evaluation and it occurred to me that at least one aspect of it is particularly appealing due to its remarkable resemblance to shopping. Yup, that’s what it is. What I love about evaluation is collecting data!

The same rush of excitement I would get during a day at the mall I now get checking SurveyMonkey for incoming responses. It’s that “thrill of the hunt”, the acquisition, the addition to the collection that ignites the passion. As I become less materialistic and more fiscally responsible (as my golden years approach), I find myself engaging more in the latter than the former.

It happens even prior to data collection. Have you been to the Mall of America? Like planning out my day – thinking about what am I shopping for, how much I really need vs. how much I want, and which stores I will visit – I love designing the surveys. Who do I need to reach? How many of them? What do I really need to know from them vs. what I want to know? How will I get the biggest “bang for my buck?”

Continue reading