Success Measures presented at several sessions of the American Evaluation Association’s recent annual conference, entitled “Evaluation Practice in the Early 21st Century”. Held in Washington DC this year, the conference is the preeminent gathering for evaluators from across the country to share and learn from one another.
At the “Ignite Your Tech” sessions, Carol Rogers presented a lively look at the newly- enhanced and upgraded Success Measures Data System, the team’s specialized online platform offered to help conduct and simplify affordable evaluations for community development initiatives. Fitting into the Ignite session guidelines, the quick-moving 20 slide/5 minute presentation focused on SMDS as a flexible, accessible, and powerful application for implementing participatory outcome evaluations.
Maggie Grieve, Nancy Kopf, and Jessica Mulcahy lead a panel session entitled “The Realities of Operationalizing Participatory Outcome Evaluation: Examples from Community-Based Initiatives”. This session focused on the nuts and bolts of participatory outcome evaluation practice by presenting case examples on different dimensions of the process for distinct stakeholder groups, including building the evaluation capacity of community-based organizations, and using this approach as a means for funders and intermediaries to demonstrate the impact of their investments. The senior staff members from Success Measures shared their own experiences implementing multi-year, multi-site mixed methods evaluations, including insights on the challenges and opportunities inherent in this process, and elements that contribute to effective practice in the field. Attendees gained deeper understanding of how a variety of users are incorporating participatory evaluation into their ongoing work and using data to improve programs and promote continuous learning.