5.1(a) Four faces: what do we mean by evaluation?


To explore different opinions and reach some agreement on what the group means by evaluation.

You need

The statements below, the drawings of the four faces, some space to move around and about 45 minutes.

What to do

Cartoon illustrating topic

a) To start thinking about evaluation, get into pairs and spend three minutes each asking the other person about something they’ve seen, read, done or bought recently. What happened? What did you like? What didn’t you like? A simple evaluation.

b) You are now going to explore the group’s opinions about evaluation. First, make four faces on four separate pieces of paper: very happy, a bit happy, not happy and very unhappy. Stick them up in the four corners of the room. Create some statements about evaluation yourselves, or use the ones below – or a bit of both of course. (The statements need to help discussion, not cause conflict.)

Cartoon illustrating topic

c) When you have your list of statements, one or two of the group reads some of the statements out. After each statement is read out, move to the face that best reflects what you feel about it. If someone totally agrees with a statement, move next to the very smiley face. If you slightly agree, then move next to the slightly happy face. And so on.

d) Those reading the statements now ask people at each face to talk amongst themselves about why they are in this position. Ask two or three from different positions to explain to the group why they have chosen to be where they are.

If you have more time, you can get people to actively persuade others to join them and for people to move about if they want to change their views.

Four faces statements

Read out a selection of the statements below and add your own if you wish.

  • The purpose of evaluation is to uncover the truth
  • Evaluation is expensive
  • Evaluation tells us if something has been successful
  • Evaluation is done by outsiders who don’t understand and who don’t care
  • Evaluation tells us how to do something better
  • Evaluators have decided what they want to say before they start
  • Children and young people should always be involved in all aspects of an evaluation
  • You need specially trained people to do an evaluation
  • Everyone’s views are equally valid in an evaluation
  • Evaluation makes no difference to our lives
  • People who use the project are better at doing the evaluation than outsiders
  • Evaluation is a waste of time
  • People in power should change what they do in line with evaluation findings

What do you think?

Flip chart some key thoughts about evaluation that come out of the exercise. What do you feel is the purpose of evaluation? Have group members taken part in evaluations? If so, what made these worthwhile? Did any feel a waste of time? If so, why? Keep these notes safely for the third activity in this section.

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