Developmental evaluation: Diagnostic checklist

This checklist aims to help users assess whether Developmental Evaluation is a good fit for your situation.

The tool is comprised of three checklists that ask you to answer a series of questions in the following areas: Developmental situation, adaptive capacity and readiness for learning and evaluation.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Judy Gold.

Authors and their affiliation

Mark Cabaj, President of the consulting company From Here to There and an Associate of Tamarack

Key features

 A simple three page checklist to assess if a developmental evaluation is appropriate for the situation you are evaluating. There are three checklists, one to assess it it truly is a developmental situation (and thus developmental evaluation may be appropriate), one to assess 'adaptive capacity' (ability to work in a way suited to social innovation and/or complex situations) and readiness for learning and evaluation. Together, these give you an indication of whether developmental evaluation may be a good option.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I have previously been requested to design or conduct a developmental evaluation, without the client necessarily understanding the term or recognising whether this is an appropriate choice for their situation. This checklist would be incredibly helpful to guide discussions around whether this approach is suitable, as well as prompts for reflection on what kind of situation clients are in, and M&E is called for (using each checklist individually or in combination, depending on the circumstance). 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Simple, easy to understand and apply, and provides useful areas of reflection for anyone interested in what kind of situation they are in (and thus what type of evaluation may be appropriate), their adaptive capacity and their readiness for learning and evaluation. The narrative description of scores on each checklists are also helpful to reflect on continuums of practice across the three areas. 


Cabaj, M. (n.d.) Developmental Evaluation: Diagnostic Checklist. Retrieved from: