Office of Performance Evaluations

Resources for Evaluators

Insights from Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations: An interview with Rakesh Mohan, Director

Rakesh was interviewed by Andy Feldman on the functions and processes of the OPE, discussing evaluative steps and the importance of independence when conducting evaluations…


Radical re-imaging: a collaborative reflective space cocreating a collective vision for being more human in our work lives through reflective practice, interpersonal development, and embodied healing.

Radical (Re)Imaging: What it means to be in service to others

Deven Wisner, Tiffany Smith, and Libby Smith of Radical (Re)Imagining chat with Rakesh Mohan in a podcast about what it means to be in service to others…

A trapeze artist on a swing flying in the air and catching another artist.

Building trust, an essential activity for evaluators

For people to have confidence in government, they need to trust their government officials. Unfortunately, that trust is a scarcity these days….

The Idaho Capitol from the back with autumn foliage.

Using consultants to increase evaluation capacity

Small evaluation shops shouldn’t shy away from taking on large, complex studies. They can tackle these studies with confidence and produce useful evaluations by strategically contracting with consultants…

Group of business people in a meeting at office.

The value of credentials in evaluations

As the director, I manage high stakes evaluations. A poorly conducted evaluation could end my career and damage my office’s hard-earned credibility. For me, managing evaluations involves assembling the best team…

Books, pencils, apple, and notebooks in front of blackboard with the writing, Back to School.

What is different about K-12 public education evaluations?

At least in the USA, K-12 public education evaluations seem to be curried with a bit of extra politics, so much so that the politics is too spicy for many evaluators to handle. Like a curry, the politics of education evaluations is…

Generations from an India village listening to one man speak.

Getting the attention of your audiences

“Who is your boss?” asked a senior legislator shortly after I started as the director of the Office of Performance Evaluations more than 12 years ago. I quickly responded, “JLOC.” The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee…

 Cartoom of man saying he is a program evaluator, and another man saying, No kidding, my brother is also a computer programmer.

Evaluation’s four missing Ps

Do you know what happens when I tell someone that I’m an evaluator? I get a blank look, because people do not know what an evaluator does. So I say that I’m a program evaluator. And they think I’m a computer programmer…

 Two cartoon characters with one saying, the evaluators promised to help us once they're done developing their field. The other says, Are you sure? It seems like each night they start over.

Follow-up on the four missing Ps

In response to my recent guest blog and your related cartoons in Freshspectrum, here is what the great Eleanor Chelimsky said to me in a personal email: “About who evaluators are: I used to think we were Ulysses..

 Many hands meeting together

Evaluators can’t do it alone; need to build new partnerships

You talked about building new partnerships to promote evaluation use among policymakers. In order to accomplish that, you said evaluators would need to broaden their discussions at conferences beyond evaluation…

 JLOC cochairs Dean Mortimer and Shirley with Director Rakesh Mohan at a JLOC meeting

Wish I had done this 11 years ago

Being the director of Idaho’s legislative evaluation office for more than 11 years has taught me many things. One of them is the complex nature of communication with policymakers. I believe this is probably one of the…

 Man wrapped in caution tape

Why are evaluators so tentative about the advocacy aspect of our profession?

My mother used to say that where there are two or more people, there will always be politics over resources. Because evaluations involve making judgments about prioritization, distribution, and use of resources…

 Postcard written in Hindi in 1962

Embracing data visualization in evaluation: A management perspective

Words have meaning, especially those that are well thought out and are written for a particular person or audience in mind. For instance, here is a very special letter my father wrote to me 52 years ago when I was only six…

 Sankey chart depicting the flow of funds through the Department of Health and Welfare

Fitting reporting methods to evaluation findings and audiences

As part of the evaluation on the Department of Health and Welfare’s management of appropriated funds, we had a difficult task of understanding and then explaining to policymakers the movement of appropriated funds…

 Sankey chart showing flow of funding to expenditures

Sankey diagrams: A cool tool for explaining the complex flow of resources in large organizations

Last year, the legislature asked us to explain how funds move through the Department of Health and Welfare—the agency with the state’s largest budget. Legislators, including budget committee members, had difficulty…