Writing an evaluation

To be perfectly honest with you, I hate writing evaluations.

For those of you who are wondering what on Earth is this, here’s my own description of it: evaluation is basically you saying how you screwed up a project and what could you have done better. Any self abuse (in writing) is accepted as long as you justify it, however try to say something good about your work and you’re immediately taken marks off. 

Well. That’s how I look at it anyway. Of course another way to present it is as an assessment. You take a step back from your work and try to objectively pass a judgement. Some of the questions we have to ask ourselves when writing such a piece are:

  • Has the outcome of my project met the expectations of it?
  • Did I learn the things I had set goals to learn?
  • Did I manage my time well?
  • What are the obstacles that I faced during the project?
  • How did I overcome them? Did I stumble and wallowed for a week? Did I come up with an alternative way of doing things? Did it go well, but I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome? Did I stick with the way I wanted it to be and made it work in the end?
  • Why did I meet these obstacles? Was it my hardware (if you’re working with computers)? Was it my software (let’s say you want to render something, but the render engine you have is not meant for that sort of thing)? Was it my time management (you spent too much time brainstorming and not enough doing)? Was it budget related? Did I not take into consideration I have to sleep and eat at some point? Was it health related? Was it out of my hands? These are just SOME of the questions you need to be asking yourself when writing an evaluation, depending on what your project is about these may vary. For example if you are writing about a piece on business and you wanted to interview successful people in the area one issue you might have not considered is that they are so busy that they did not see your e_mail with the questions for example. If you are a chemist, something may go wrong with the controlled variables. Apply these questions in a manner which fits your needs, the fundamentals are there.
  • How could have I avoided these obstacles all together (if they are within your reach, which most of the time – let’s face it – they are). You may want to talk about your time management skills. So for example you did not plan the whole project correctly. Or you didn’t meet the deadlines. Another common issue is that maybe you didn’t calculate your budget correctly. Think of all the things you did have control over and didn’t take into consideration. For example for my last project I wanted to work with advanced fluids in a software I had touched for the first time 2 weeks prior. It was borderline impossible and my tutors had stressed it not once that it would be irresponsible if I do it, but I insisted on doing it. Now, the result was me almost failing the year, in fact I’m still working on that project so I can submit it on time. The issue wasn’t just time management, it was me overestimating myself and believing that I can do it, when in reality… Well, ok. I did it. (I had to brag).
  • Did I meet the brief criteria? This one is probably the one I should have started with, but in reality if you learned what you set out to learn, if you met your deadlines, if you recorded your process and progress (in academic circles is mandatory I believe) then it is most likely that you met the brief criteria unless you screwed up your entire project. 🙂 Usually if you’re in high school/college/university the tutors are very plain about what they want from you, so take notes and don’t play on your phone!

So… yeah. If I had forgotten something, I’m truly sorry. Don’t forget to submit your drafts as that helps A LOT. A bit of extra feedback is always welcomed, don’t take critiques personally. People are trying to help you. And… that’s really all I can think of right now. 🙂

If you’re starting your evaluation now, I wish you a relaxed and effortless writing process!

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