It’s always a pleasure to escape the office, get an inside look at another facility, and connect with other professionals. That joy permeated both state gatherings last month. (Many thanks to the folks at Grandfather Mountain and Discovery Place for their hospitality!) With group discussion topics similar every time we gather, I was struck by an idea that may make an important conundrum less of a constraint. If we had a resource for evaluation templates, that could help a lot of interpreters. It was not my idea but it is a good one and it got me excited, which is exactly why we have gatherings of interpreters.
The riddle is this: formative evaluation delivers evidence that your interpretive efforts are fruitful and demonstrates worthiness to fund those programs. Although it is important, often the planning and delivery of interpretation leave little time to plan and deliver assessment. Also, even experienced professional are often not experienced with theory and research related to evaluation. If we had access to templates for pre and post assessments in various formats for the different groups commonly served, and if it was created by experienced professionals in interpretation research with a concentration on evaluation, that could be very helpful.
Logistic hurdles will always limit how close we can get to ideal evaluation but a concentrated effort to build and make available templates modeled on methods proven to be effective would help us get closer. Do you know someone qualified to work on it? It could make a big difference in the field! If you like this idea, please spread the word and maybe we can make it happen.