Evaluation describes the process of examining information about an evaluand.
Evaluation is often used in an educational context, but applies to many other areas, such as computer science, business, and engineering. Often evaluation is confused with assessment. However, evaluation is broader than assessment and involves making judgments about the merit or worth of an evaluand. Merit involves judgments about intrinsic value. Worth involves judgments about instrumental value. For example, a history and a mathematics teacher may have equal merit in terms of mastery of their respective disciplines, but the math teacher may have greater worth because of the higher demand and lower supply of qualified mathematics teachers.
The American Evaluation Association (www.eval.org) has created a set of standards that are commonly accepted as guidelines for evaluations. They provide guidelines about basing value judgments on systematic inquiry, evaluator competence and integrity, respect for people, and regard for the general and public welfare. The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (www.wmich.edu/evalctr/jc/) has developed standards for program, personnel, and student evaluation. The Joint Committee standards are broken into four sections: Utility, Feasibility, Propriety, and Accuracy. A link to the full AEA Evaluation and Joint Committee Standards can be found under "external links"
Dr. David Williams, from Brigham Young University, has established an framework consisting of 14 questions that should be considered when determininig the effectiveness of an evaluation:
- What is the background/context/literature information for understanding an evaluation plan or report?
- Who are the audiences/stake holders/information users who care about the evaluand and its evaluation?
- What is the evaluand these people care about?
- What issues, concerns or information needs do they have regarding the evaluand?
- What criteria do they have for judging the evaluand?
- What questions do they want to answer regarding how well the evaluand meets the criteria?
- What processes and activities were used to collect data to answer the questions and compare the evaluand to the criteria?
- What analysis procedures were used to interpret the data?
- What reporting strategies were used to get information to information users (interim and final)?
- What are the results or answers to the evaluation questions?
- What recommendations does this study yield?
- What resources were used to carry out the entire study, including team members?
- What schedule and budget were followed and how did they compare to what was planned?
- How did this study hold up against meta-evaluation standards?
There are many techniques and approaches for conducting evaluations. The following are some of the most common.
- Educational Evaluation is evaluation that is conducted specifically in an educational setting.
Assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing specific information as part of an evaluation.
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46