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Management of assessments and decision making: execution, facilitation, evaluation

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Mikko V. Pohjola, Nordem Oy (THL). Management of assessments and decision making: execution, facilitation, evaluation. Basic problem. Lankinen, et al.: State research institutes and research funding: proposal on a comprehensive reform :

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Basic problem

  • Lankinen, et al.: State research institutes and research funding: proposal on a comprehensive reform:
    • “Preparation, decision-making and implementation of policy should be based on researched information and evidence.…the use of research-based information in social policy decision-making, must be strengthened”
  • If we want policy to be ”knowledge-based” and ”effective”…
  • …what constitutes effective knowledge-based policy?
  • and effective knowledge support to policy making?
common perspectives to effectiveness

Outcomes (vs. objectives)

Behavioral responses + CBA


Ex ante – ex post evaluation

Factors limiting implementation









Common perspectives to effectiveness
  • Assessment (and modeling)
    • Quality assurance / control
    • Uncertainty analysis
    • Technical assessment of models
    • ”Effectiveness”
    • Other


  • Assessment – knowledge support for practical needs
  • Policy – decisions and actions with societal relevance
  • Outcomes – changes in the world resulting from decision and actions
  • Practices – (common) ways of dealing with things
  • Effectiveness – capability (or likelihood) of achieving intended outcomes
  • Evaluation – analysis of the capability (or likelihood) of achieving intended outcomes
framework for knowledge based policy
Framework for knowledge-based policy

(Knowledge) practices

Policy making







  • Process
  • Product
  • Use
  • Interaction
  • Design
  • Execution
  • Follow-up

Evaluation &


framework for knowledge based policy1
Framework for knowledge-based policy
  • Focus on knowledge support to decision making
    • Decision makers' needs?
    • Societal needs?
    • Other needs?
    • Expert knowledge
    • Local knowledge
    • Opinions, views, perspectives, values
    • → collaborative search for questions and answers
    • → good decisions, desired changes in the world
  • Evaluation and management of effectiveness -> proactive guidance of decisions and actions both now and in the future
management of assessments and decision making
Management of assessments and decision making










  • Explicit purposes, aims
  • Common practices
  • Properties of good assessment
  • Dimensions of openness
  • Assessment-policy interaction
  • Explicit purposes, aims
  • Monitoring
  • Policy analysis




  • Open assessment
  • Openness
  • Discussion
  • Collaboration
  • Shared understanding
  • Information structure
evaluation of decision support
Evaluation of decision support
  • Five ”knowledge-based” approaches to effectiveness (cf. the Puijo-case):
    • Dimensions of openness (DO)(Pohjola and Tuomisto 2011)
    • Knowledge-policy interaction (KPI)(Pohjola manuscript)
    • Properties of good assessment (PoGA)(Sandström et al. manuscript, http://en.opasnet.org/w/Properties_of_good_assessment)
    • Assessment effectiveness (Kauppinen et al. 2006)
    • Relational evaluation approach (Koivisto and Pohjola 2011)
  • Evaluation guides (the management of) execution!
    • Not only afterwards, but also during and even before the making of an assessment
  • Evaluation is possible only in relation to purpose!
  • Taking account of (intended) use is essential
  • Instrumental value of assessment
    • Cf. absolute value (a common science view)
    • Cf. Ad hoc solutions (a common practice view)
    • => Assessment is a tool for policy-support (a means to an end)
      • => A model is a tool for making assessments
  • Why evaluation of decisions / decision support?
    • Efficient use of resources?
    • Value of work done?
    • Importance/meaning of information?
    • Implications of information?
    • Actual impacts of information?
    • …because funder, customer, user, boss, peer, stakeholder etc. wants/needs to know!

Assessment is business of creating understanding about reality

Making right questions

Providing good answers

Delivering the answers (and questions) to use

Dual purpose of assessments:

Meeting the needs of use (decision making, policy)

Striving for truth (science)

kpi how well does assessment address decision needs
KPI: how well does assessment address decision needs?
  • Impacts
  • Causes
  • Problem owner
  • Target
  • Interaction
do how well can a decision process or assessment accept contributions
DO: how well can a decision process (or assessment) accept contributions?
  • Scope of participation: who are allowed to participate in the process?
  • Access to information: what information regarding the issue at hand is made available to participants
  • Timing of openness: when are participants invited or allowed to participate?
  • Scope of contribution: which aspects of the issue at hand participants are invited or allowed to contribute to?
  • Impact of contribution: to what extent are participant contributions allowed to have influence on the outcomes, i.e. how much weight is given to participant contributions?
poga how well can an assessment influence decisions and actions
PoGA: how well can an assessment influence decisions and actions?
  • Quality of content
    • Informativeness
    • Calibration
    • Coherence
  • Applicability
    • Relevance
    • Availability
    • Usability
    • Acceptability
  • Efficiency
    • Intra-assessment efficiency
    • Inter-assessment efficiencý
example what makes a good hammer1
Example: what makes a good hammer?
  • How is the hammer made? By who?
  • What properties does the hammer have?
  • What do you want to do with the hammer?
  • How does the hammer help you do it?
summary evaluating decision support
Summary: evaluating decision support


Identify and explicate decision maker aims & decision criteria

Identify and explicate other relevant needs

Decision process:

DO: Making use of assessments

Decision support (assessment):

PoGA & KPI: Serving decision needs

DO: Making use of available knowledge

homework 9
Homework 9

Look into two (other than your own) homework 3 draft assessments

Characterize the assessment drafts according to

Knowledge-policy interaction &

Dimensions of openness

Based on the characterization, evaluate the assessment drafts according to

Properties of good assessment (modified)

Write your development suggestions to the corresponding user pages

Homework 3 deadline is Monday 4.2.!

-> do your homework 9 after that!