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Evaluation

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policy Making Act of 2018 requires agencies to make agency data public when possible and to develop statistical evidence to support policymaking. To aid with this process, the act requires that each agency designate a Statistical Official, Evaluation Officer, and Chief Data Officer.

The Evaluation Officer

The Evaluation Officer is responsible for the agency’s assessments of coverage, quality, methods, consistency, effectiveness, independence, balance of portfolio of evaluations, and other ongoing evaluation activities. Additionally, the officer is responsible for coordinating and releasing a Department Learning Agenda that establishes priorities for evidence and evaluation development. The officer also coordinates and releases the Capacity Assessment that assesses the resources available to complete the Learning Agenda. Additionally, the Evaluation Officer leads the development of an Annual Evaluation Plan that lists evaluations that will be conducted in a fiscal year and are funded in the budget for that year.

Shawn Klimek serves as the Department’s Evaluation Officer.

Objectives

The objective of the Evaluation Officer and evaluation staff throughout the department is to facilitate the development and use of quality data, evidence, and rigorous evaluations in decision-making. Additionally, the Evaluation Officer promotes:

The primary focus of the Evaluation Officer is to ensure that Department and bureau evidence and evaluation activities are governed by leaderships’ priorities, use the best methodology, and findings are incorporated into policy and program deliberations.

The Evaluation Officer and the Chief Data Officer collaborate to promote effective data use within the Department. They identify gaps in available data to answer key policy questions and collaborate with bureau staff to develop the necessary data.

The Evaluation Officer and Chief Data Officer collaborate to streamline data access across bureaus and sub-agencies within the Department. The Commerce Data Hub was created to provide quick access to datasets and their owners.

The Evaluation Officer and Chief Data officer work with experts in the Census Bureau and the Office of Privacy and Open Government to ensure that microdata– data with personal information attached to it– is protected. This includes researching and utilizing privacy-protecting technologies. Additionally, the Evaluation Officer and Chief Data Officer are responsible for ensuring that legal and ethical restrictions on data use are followed.

Additional Information

Annual Evaluation Plan

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 requires that agency Evaluation Officers coordinate the development of an Annual Evaluation Plan that is published concurrently with the agency's Annual Performance Plan and the annual budget. The Annual Evaluation Plan describes significant evaluations and related information for the subsequent fiscal year.

FY 24 Department of Commerce Evaluation Plan

Past Evaluation Plans

Learning Agenda

The Department’s Learning Agenda is a companion document to the Strategic Plan. It details evidence and evaluations that will be developed to facilitate achieving the Department’s Strategic Objectives. The Learning Agenda includes:

  • Policy-relevant questions that the agency intends to answer to support policymaking.
  • Data that the agency intends to collect, use, or acquire to facilitate research on policy-relevant questions.
  • Methods and analytical approaches that may be used to develop evidence to support policymaking.
  • Challenges to developing evidence to support policymaking, including any statutory or other restrictions to accessing relevant data.

Learning Agenda, Companion to the 2022 – 2026 Strategic Plan

Capacity Assessment

The Capacity Assessment is the third document in the series that the Evaluation Officer is responsible for. It reports on the Department’s resources to carry out the Learning Agenda. The Capacity Assessment reviews and appraises the statistics, evaluation, research, and analysis capabilities of the Department. Bureau evaluation resources are reviewed to assess if they meet requirements for achieving quality, rigor, and relevance for their evidence and evaluation projects.

FY 22/26 Evidence/Evaluation Capacity Assessment