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Evaluations of complex systems change strategies or adaptive, innovative programs cannot use the traditional “rigor” yardstick to measure quality. In response to the need and growing number of these complex evaluations, FSG's Hallie Preskill and Spark Policy's Jewlya Lynn propose a new definition of rigor, one that applies in any setting, but particularly in complex, adaptive ones. 

Top Takeaways:

4 criteria for the new definition of rigor:

  1. Quality of thinking
  2. Credible and legitimate claims
  3. Cultural context and responsiveness
  4. Quality and value of the learning process
Regardless of its other positive attributes, an evaluation of a complex, adaptive program that fails to take into account systems thinking will not be responsive to the needs of that program.