Berends, L. & Roberts, B. (2003). Evaluation standards and their application to Indigenous programs in Victoria, Australia. Evaluation Journal of Australasia,3(2), 54-59.
The historical and current status of Indigenous people needs careful consideration in designing evaluations of Indigenous-specific programs. In Australia, the evaluator operates in a context arising from past policies of discrimination against Indigenous people and limited current policy moves toward community control and self-determination. Evaluation guidelines and standards exist to provide direction and become particularly valuable in complex project conditions, such as the current evaluation. This paper reflects on guidelines of the Australasian Evaluation Society and standards of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) as they apply to the evaluation of Indigenous programs in Victoria, focusing on our recent experience in the evaluation of Indigenous specific alcohol and drug programs. Particular attention is given to the utility standards of the AEA, given the range of key stakeholders involved in the evaluation. We discuss the consistency of our approach with the utility standards and suggest areas where modification to the standards may be useful, drawing particularly on the modifications to the standards that have been put forward by the African Evaluation Association. In reflecting on the evaluation, we also identify areas for change in future projects involving Indigenous programs.
Centre for Health and Social Research
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