Route One Evaluation


Sliding Doors of Evaluation

Sliding Doors is one of my favorite movies. In case you missed this little gem from 1998, the story, or stories, are set as Helen (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) rushes to make a train. In one version, she makes it; in the other, she does not. From here, we follow Helen on two very different life journeys, all based on whether she made it through the train’s sliding doors…or not.

I love this movie because it highlights how seemingly insignificant daily acts can have huge ramifications…changing our direction or entire path…leading to different results and lives. I also love it because Helen’s transformation in one storyline is symbolized by going from long brown hair to a short blonde crop. In addition to signaling her freer, brighter self, I just adore this hairstyle! And, yes, I had a copycat cut!


Anyway…Evaluation also has sliding doors. Throughout evaluation planning, implementation, and dissemination, we make numerous big and medium and little decisions. We are not even conscious of all the decisions we make. Yet each and every one of them impacts the direction and path of the evaluation…influencing what we learn from the evaluation, attitudes about the evaluation and what is being evaluated, and decisions that have ramifications for those involved in and expected to benefit from the program or initiative being evaluated. This is a tremendous responsibility. Be aware of sliding doors. And watch the movie.