Evaluation, or how every stone makes the wall.

13 Febrero 2014

Evaluation is something that is inevitably linked to a commitment. This is the only way by which we will be sure if at the end we will have achieved it or not. When evaluation is foreseen as part of the actions to be carried out, it allows us to learn from successes and mistakes, to rectify in time and to disseminate our achievements with certainty.

A proverb from my homeland says: “Tota pedra fa paret” (every stone makes the wall) and this is true for many things in life. It is the effort from each and every one that changes or even sometimes improves our environment. We cannot but claim the same about our road environment, because “Together we are road safety!

This proverb is too often used with unreasonable lightness because one does not realize two things:

  • A stone is something solid. What we bring to the wall has to be solid and consistent. Anything is not worth it.
  • Either all the stones fit in perfectly between them to give the required strength, or a binder that solidifies the whole has to be provided.

At the ERSCharter, we are waiting for many contributions, but these have to be solid, in order to be able to bring them together and offer a consistent road safety wall.

So, it makes sense to have to verify that our contribution, our commitment offers a solid result that fit is, that is also useful to others as an experience to keep in mind.

Evaluation is something that is inevitably linked to a commitment. If we want to achieve something, we will have to be sure about whether we have achieved it or not in the end. When evaluation is properly planned, we find a full range of important benefits:

  • When planning the evaluation as part of the steps that we are going to take, we will be able to better clarify what we are really capable of and which effort or investment we have to make.
  • To be able to present a corroborated and evaluated effect will provide us some certainty that we would not have otherwise. That is when the dissemination and the future investment are really worthwhile by replicating these actions.
  • In other words, would we dare to disseminate or introduce something without having tested it, and therefore, evaluated it before?
  • From another point of view, to what extent would we take into account a series of actions or plans carried out by others if there is no objective evaluation of their results?
  • As we evaluate the progress of the planned activities, we can make improvements on time. In this way, we learn and we can optimize the carried out investment.
  • Evaluation does not have to be an expensive part of the development of the action plan designed to reach our commitment. In the end, not being aware of the deficiencies and of the mistakes turns out to be much more expensive.
Dr. Jaime Sanmartín is the Director of the Research Institute of Traffic and Road Safety of the University of Valencia (INTRAS-UV) and Full Professor of Methodology of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Valencia.
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