Evaluation Utility Metrics (EUMs) in Reflective Practice


  • Ralph Renger Just Evaluation Services (JESS), LLC
  • Jessica Renger Claremont Graduate University
  • Richard N Van Eck University of North Dakota
  • Marc D. Basson University of North Dakota
  • Jirina Renger Walden University




evaluation, utility, metrics, reflection, recommendations, evaluation recommendations, reflective practice


The article proposes three evaluation utility metrics to assist evaluators in evaluating the quality of their evaluation. After an overview of reflective practice in evaluation, the different ways in which evaluators can hold themselves accountable
are discussed. It is argued that reflective practice requires evaluators to go beyond
evaluation quality (i.e., technical quality and methodological rigor) when assessing
evaluation practice to include an evaluation of evaluation utility (i.e., specific actions taken in response to evaluation recommendations). Three Evaluation Utility Metrics (EUMs) are proposed to evaluate utility: whether recommendations are considered
(EUMc), adopted (EUMa), and (if adopted) the level of influence of recommendations (EUMli). The authors then reflect on their experience in using the EUMs, noting the importance of managing expectations through negotiation to ensure that
EUM data are collected and the need to consider contextual nuances (e.g., adoption
and influence of recommendations are influenced by multiple factors beyond the
control of the evaluators). Recommendations for increasing EUM rates by paying
attention to the frequency and timing of recommendations are also shared. Results
of implementing these EUMs in a real-world evaluation provide evidence of their
potential value: practice tips led to an EUMc of 100% and and EUMa of over 80%.
Methods for considering and applying all three EUMs together to facilitate practice
improvement are also discussed.

Author Biographies

Ralph Renger, Just Evaluation Services (JESS), LLC

Dr. Renger was born in Calgary, Canada.   He spent 23 years teaching public health evaluation at the University of Arizona and the University of North Dakota before beginning his own consulting firm.  He is internationally known for his advancement of system evaluation theory and several applied program evaluation methodologies including the ATM approach for logic modeling, developing program theory using source documentation, and root cause analysis to facilitate process evaluation.

Marc D. Basson, University of North Dakota

Marc Basson received his MD from the University of Michigan, his PhD from Yale, and an MBA from Wayne State University.  A practicing general surgeon, he also serves as the Principal Investigator and Director of the DaCCoTA Center for Translational Research, an NIH-funded multi-institutional consortium dedicated to fostering clinical and translational biomedical research across North and South Dakota.  He is Professor of Surgery, Biomedical Sciences, and Pathology and Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Jirina Renger, Walden University

Dr. Jirina Renger is a graduate from the University of Arizona, College of Public Health. She currently serves as a core faculty member in the DrPH and Ph.D. Public Health programs in the College of Health Professions at Walden University.  Her area of specialization is theory-driven evaluation and program theory reconstruction.






Practice Note- English