Reducing fear of program evaluation: An interview with Paul Decker, President of Mathematica Policy Research and 2013 President of APPAM – Episode #36

How can public leaders encourage greater use of program evaluation to learn what works and to improve outcomes for citizens? One important part of the answer, noted Paul Decker in his 2013 Presidential Address at the APPAM public policy conference, is to address the frequent fear associated with program evaluation. That fear stems from framing evaluation as simply a tool to justify continued or discontinued funding for a program. This “rigid framing of the role of program evaluation,” he argues, “poses a set of false choices that I believe ultimately undermines the use and creation of evidence.”

To learn more, we’re join by Paul Decker who recently concluded his year-long term as President of APPAM — the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Since 2007, he has also been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mathematica Policy Research. He is a nationally recognized expert in the design and implementation of evaluations of education and workforce development programs.