It’s back-to-school time again! I invite you to say hello to recent grads and newbie evaluators.

It’s that time of year again. Stores are full of back-to-school clothes, backpacks, and school supplies. They’ll be selling Christmas decorations any day now!

Newbie evaluators and recent graduates experience a back-to-school nostalgia around this time of year. We’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished since graduating and wondering what the evaluation field holds for us in the future.

But what does it really mean to be a new evaluator? What do all these new, newbie, and novice evaluators have in common? What about the undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent grads?

I’ve been working in evaluation for 4 years but I still consider myself to be a new evaluator. There’s so much to learn! Every client, client team, organizational culture, evaluation team, programmatic content area, logic model, evaluation plan, dataset, and needs assessment is new. Even when working with repeat clients or conducting multi-year evaluations, the contextual factors affecting the program and its evaluation will evolve. (Does the client ever want and need the same information in Year 5 that they wanted and needed in Year 1? I doubt it. Does Decisionmaker A want and need results shared in the same way as Decisionmaker B? No way.)

At what point do we transform from new evaluators into seasoned evaluators?

All this month, you’ll hear from new evaluators and recent grads about their successes, challenges, and questions as they’re transitioning into the field. I invite you to read their perspectives and say hello.

— Ann Emery
P.S. Additional insights from new evaluators are located here.