Professionalization has become a major focus of discussion in the evaluation community, and the process of professionalizing the field of evaluation has provoked strong reactions, both positive and negative, from scholars and practitioners alike. The purpose of this chapter is not to take a stand on the merit or worth of the arguments that proponents and detractors routinely make, but to situate the newly approved 2018 AEA Evaluator Competencies within the larger framework of professionalization. This chapter first presents a broad overview of the steps involved in professionalizing any field, then uses it to describe the history of professionalization and competencies development within AEA. Looking broadly, it concludes with a summary of current professionalizing activities around the world.
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