Purpose: To examine the evaluation competencies extension professionals need to develop and the challenges faced by early career extension professionals when they evaluate their extension education programs. Design: We conducted two studies that utilized a three round Delphi technique to come to consensus on the core program evaluation competencies for extension professionals and the most pervasive program evaluation challenges early-career extension professionals face. These studies were conducted in the spring and summer of 2018. We used two Delphi panels: (1) 46 evaluation specialists and (2) 30 new county extension professionals from various program areas. We inputted the final list of program evaluation competencies and challenges into a spreadsheet for comparative analysis to achieve the research purpose. Findings: The panel of extension evaluation specialists reached consensus on 36 competencies and the panel of early career extension professionals had consensus on 26 program evaluation challenges. Comparative analysis of the results of the two Delphi studies effectively linked early career extension program evaluation challenges with the evaluation specialists identified core evaluation competencies. Practical Implications: We provide a framework for designing needs-based, proactive in-service trainings to build the evaluation capacity of early-career extension professionals. Theoretical Implications: This program evaluation competency model for early-career extension professionals adds to the overall theoretical body of literature focused on evaluation capacity building of extension professionals. Originality: It presents the US Extension Evaluation Specialists’ national consensus of the core program evaluation competencies for extension professionals. It is also the first study to compare early-career extension program evaluation challenges with a relevant evaluation competency model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)