The Role of Evaluative Thinking in the Teaching of Evaluation

  • Thomas Archibald Virginia Tech
Keywords: teaching of evaluation, evaluation capacity building, evaluative thinking, reflective practice, practical wisdom


In this practice note, I share some reflections on the role of evaluative thinking in the teaching of evaluation. I teach an introductory graduate-level evaluation course to Master’s and Doctoral students and also provide ECB workshops to various community-based education organizations, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, foundations, and groups of emerging evaluators. In this practice note I use a reflective case study augmented with analysis against salient theoretical frameworks to reflect on evaluative thinking as a way: (1) to balance teaching theory and practice; (2) to infuse adult education principles and practices, which can also help learners hone in on the potential for evaluation for social justice; and (3) to equip students for continuing professional development—to help them become life-long learners in evaluation.

Special Issue - Teaching Evaluation