Evaluation is an essential tool for understanding what works, what doesn’t work, what has been accomplished, and what’s possible, all in the context of an organization’s mission and goals. When integrated at every level, from the teaching studio to the boardroom, evaluation promotes the artistic development of students, the pedagogical techniques of teaching artists, the soundness of financial and personnel management, the creativity and effectiveness of marketing and fundraising, and the vision and implementation of organizational leadership.
Think of evaluation as a learning process that supports all that your organization sets out to accomplish. Every organization needs ways to assess its strengths and weaknesses in order to improve effectiveness. That’s where evaluation comes in. Evaluation is not about finding fault. It is about strengthening people, programs, partnerships, and organizations. The point is to report, discuss, and act on the findings in a cycle of planning, action, and continuing evaluation.
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- Evaluation is the thoughtful, systematic collection and analysis of information about activities, characteristics, and outcomes for use in improving effectiveness and making decisions.
- Assessment is the process of measuring specific outcomes. Examples of assessment vehiclesare a student project or performance; a supervisor’s observation of a teaching artist in the classroom; or student feedback on their satisfaction with a program.