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Evaluation Criteria for Evaluating Transformation: Implications for the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Global Climate Emergency

Fundamental systems transformations are needed to address the global emergency brought on by climate change and related global trends, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which, together, pose existential threats to the future of humanity. Transformation has become the clarion call on the global stage. Evaluating transformation requires criteria. The revised Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Development Assistance Committee criteria are adequate for business as usual summative and accountability evaluations but are inadequate for addressing major systems transformations. Six criteria for evaluating transformations are offered, discussed, and illustrated by applying them to the pandemic and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. The suggested criteria illustrate possibilities. The criteria for judging any intervention should be developed in the context of and aligned with the purpose of a specific evaluation and information needs of primary intended users. This article concludes that the greatest danger for evaluators in times of turbulence is not the turbulence—it is to act with yesterday’s criteria.

American Journal of Evaluation
Michael Quinn Patton

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