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At Three Hive Consulting, we pride ourselves on being led by three Credentialled Evaluators. But what is a CE? What does it mean?
Let’s begin by talking about what the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Designation is. The CE designation is a product of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES), but the concept of competencies and credentialing does not belong to the CES alone. Many evaluation societies have published evaluation competencies (e.g., the American Evaluation Association, the European Evaluation Society, the International Development Evaluation Association, Japan Evaluation Society, South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association, Thailand Evaluation Network and United Nations Evaluation Groups), but the CES is one of the few societies or groups who have taken the competencies a step further and provides a credentialing service to its members.
What is the Credentialed Evaluator designation?
Members of the CES can voluntarily go through the credentialing process. Achieving the designation signifies that the holder has adequate knowledge, skills, and experience in the 36 competencies and the ability to produce sound evaluations. To be credentialled, a member is assessed on both their education (a graduate degree is required) and experience through submitting written explanations of how they meet the competencies.
What the Credentialed Evaluator designation is not
What the CE designation is not:
A certificate or license which formally tests skills or knowledge. There is no written or oral test used to demonstrate knowledge and understanding.
A requirement. The CE is not a licensing board which restricts an evaluator’s ability to practice evaluation.
Extra courses or academic work (so long as you meet the academic requirements).
Why should you become a Credentialed Evaluator?
From the CES’s point of view, the CE designation was developed to help with the professionalization of evaluation and to improve the quality of evaluations being produced. To learn about why evaluators get their CE, I talked with three individuals who either have their CE or are in the process of receiving it. For these individuals, the CE designation is:
A learning tool.
The process of achieving your CE requires reflection on your experiences and highlights areas where you may need to brush up on. Going through the process can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and inform future professional development.
A celebration of your achievements and competence.
Describing how you meet the 36 competencies is an exercise in reflection and can help you to articulate what you have achieved thus far in your evaluation experience.
A signal to others about your ability and professionalism.
There is some recognition and understanding of the CE designation within the evaluation field. Having your CE can signal to others that you have a certain level of experience and knowledge to be able to complete quality evaluations. This can be helpful when job searching, applying for proposals, or being required to demonstrate competency in your practice. More and more evaluation job descriptions are also beginning to list the CE as a desired trait.
Contributing to the standardization process and raising the standards of evaluation in Canada.
This last point is more about contributing to the professionalization of evaluation and raising awareness of the CE designation by obtaining it and hopefully having conversations with others about its value or meaning.
Why shouldn’t you become a Credentialed Evaluator?
Although I didn’t talk to anyone directly who didn’t have the designation for the article, I have talked with many evaluators throughout the course of my career as I personally hemmed and hawed about whether to get the designation or not myself.
For some, the designation provides little additional value to their careers and is not necessary to continue to advance in their field. For others, the process and benefits are too vague to justify putting in the time and effort. Finally, some evaluators weren’t clear on what the process entailed and thought that obtaining their CE would require extra courses or education.
Now that we’ve covered the big questions – what it is and why would you (or wouldn’t you) obtain your CE designation – we’ll dig deeper into the process of getting the CE designation and hear more from those who are in the process of getting it or who already have it in the next article in this series.
What do you think about the CE process? Let us know in the comments below!