Evaluation’s Role in Guiding Public Policy and Government with Rakesh Mohan

Evaluation's Role in Guiding Public Policy and Government with Rakesh Mohan

Rakesh Mohan has been the director of the Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) an independent and nonpartisan agency of the Idaho State Legislature, since 2002. We cover important issues related to evaluation and how evaluation can guiding government and public policy.




Under Rakesh’s direction, the office has received many awards, including the American Evaluation Association’s 2016 Outstanding Evaluation Award and the 2011 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Government Evaluation Award. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Donald and Alice Stone Outstanding Practitioner Award from the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

Recently he wrote a chapter for the book Evaluation Failures, published by Sage (2019), which we discussed previously in the interview with Kylie Hutchinson. His chapter was titled, “I Didn’t Know I Would Be a Tightrope Walker Someday: Balancing Evaluator Responsiveness and Independence.”




He has also served on the American Evaluation Association’s board of directors, the editorial advisory board of New Directions for Evaluation, and the US Comptroller General’s Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards.




Here are some of the topics we cover:

– How Rakesh’s office provides guidance to the Idaho State Legislature

– Keeping the primary stakeholders in mind is essential to conducting relevant evaluations and effective reports. Here’s an example of a one-page evaluation summary from his office: Child welfare system: Reducing the risk of adverse outcomes https://legislature.idaho.gov/ope/rep…

– What he suggests to someone who wants to work in government-related evaluation

– The main differences between his evaluation work and what most external evaluators do

– Rakesh discusses an evaluation related mistake he made and what he learning from it

– How he and his team reduce bias and improve clear thinking in their work

Some of his favorite evaluation resources include:

– BetterEvaluation: https://www.betterevaluation.org/

– Eleanor Chelimsky interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF34R…

– Eastern Evaluation Research Society: http://eers.org/

– Pew Research Center: https://www.pewresearch.org/

– US Government Accountability Office (GAO): https://www.gao.gov/

Thanks and enjoy!


James Pann smiling at the camera, sitting in front of green trees

James Pann, Ph.D. is a Professor at Nova Southeast University and a highly experienced psychologist and evaluator with nearly 25 years of experience. He conducts research and evaluation projects with non-profit organizations in the fields of health, human services, and education, and has received funding from multiple government agencies.

James holds multiple degrees including a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, an M.S. Ed. from the University of Miami, and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the host of the EvalNetwork podcast, a frequent conference presenter, and has published several peer-reviewed research articles and co-authored a book. James currently resides in Miami, Florida with his family and enjoys backpacking trips. Find out more about his work here.


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