Deception in Program Evaluation Design
DEFENSE SECURITY SERVICE LINTHICUM MD CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT OF SECURITY EXCELLENCE
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From the stages of criteria and standards selection onward to evaluation design, program managers have a range of options to deceptively influence the outcome of assessments. Other stakeholders, and those wishing to mitigate and minimize manipulation, must remain on guard for its possibility and take proactive steps to reduce the possibility of deceit. These range from the use of open and transparent feedback to ensuring the independence of assessors to red cells identifying possible vulnerabilities. As long as the stakes in a program assessment may influence decisions or influence perceptions, there is every reason to believe that some level of deception will continue in program reporting. Even when manipulation is unintentional, perhaps the result of unconscious prejudgment or preference, the effects on an assessments outcome can be similar. Luckily, stakeholders interested in assessments as a true reflection of a programs state have a variety of methods at hand to mitigate their impacts. Even in assessments devoid of conscious deceit, the lessons drawn can help improve the fidelity and reliability of the evaluations results. Yet as with much of the field, a lot of the recommendations are easier said than done.
- Administration and Management