Assessing Mediators: an Annotated Bibliography

Among a long list of articles, reports, policy monographs and other documents discussing mediation quality control generally, there are relatively few which specifically focus on performance-based assessment. That is the core method by which mediators will become qualified for IMI Certification, so this list is focused on the documents that are most useful for that specific purpose.

1. Performance-Based Assessment: a Methodology, for Use in Selecting, Training and Evaluating Mediators (Honeyman, C., et al, Test Design Project; U.S. National Institute for Dispute Resolution, 1995)

This 60 page monograph sums up the state-of-the-art of mediator testing and evaluation circa its publication date. Now in need of updating, it nevertheless remains the most comprehensive single reference available. It includes two sample cases that have been used for mediator assessment in different programs in the United States, with thorough annotations as to their respective advantages and drawbacks. The fact that both evaluation scales and the underlying design of any individual mediator assessment exercise are culturally sensitive is stressed, and three alternate sets of evaluation scales are presented for three kinds of mediation programs. These do not address the needs of any culture outside the U.S., but they at least serve as a general illustration of the ways in which such scales can be adapted to fit different mediation cultures.

2. “On Evaluating Mediators” (Honeyman, C., Negotiation Journal, January 1990)

This article discusses the different ways in which mediators might be evaluated, and describes why most of them do not work. It includes an early set of performance criteria (which later became Variant 1 in Performance-Based Assessment, above.)

3. “Five Elements of Mediation” (Honeyman, C., Negotiation Journal, April 1988)

This article was the origin of the system of performance-based assessment since used by programs in a number of countries.

4. A Consumer Guide to Selecting a Mediator (Alaska Judicial Council /US State Justice Institute, 1994)

This easy-to-follow guide shows how parties and other mediation consumers can use mediator performance criteria when informally interviewing a mediator or checking references.

5. “Credentialing Approaches: the Slow Movement toward Skills-based Testing Continues” (Waldman, E., Dispute Resolution Magazine, American Bar Association, Fall 2001)

This short article assesses the "state-of-the-art" of a variety of efforts to guarantee quality of mediation services, circa 2001.

6. “Performance-Based Testing of Mediators (a lightning-speed tour)” (Honeyman, C., 2009)

This PDF document is based on a Powerpoint presentation given to a meeting of the IMI Independent Standards Commission, and is the shortest known summary of 25 years’ work on performance-based testing of mediators.

7. “The Four Ways to Assure Mediator Quality (and why none of them work)” (Moffitt, M.L., Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Volume 24/2, 2009)

This recent article analyzes possible quality control policy on a "macro" level, and concludes that no policy is likely to work on a broad scale. It does not specifically discuss performance-based testing of mediators, except by implication since this is inherently one option within what the author characterizes as “front-end” mechanisms. The author’s central objection to all “front-end” mechanisms is that none of them is likely to preclude an unqualified mediator from practicing.

Further documents will be made available via this reading list from time to time.




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