Evaluation is the process by which an objective rate of the values and characteristics of a particular project, program, policy or plan is made at each stage. The research concerns each phase – from the very beginning, ie planning, through implementation, to the analysis of results, reporting or drawing conclusions.
The purpose of the evaluation
The evaluation is carried out in accordance with the criteria set out at the beginning, in order to improve the quality, improve the operation or introduce required changes in the program, plan or project. The necessity of changes may result from various factors – eg from the passage of time, from the stage in which the program is located, which entities take part in it, etc. The aim of the evaluation is to acquire the knowledge necessary to make further decisions.
Types of evaluation
There are several types of evaluation:
- due to the manner of conducting research, we can distinguish internal evaluation (carried out by the same entity) and external (commissioned to the entity from outside),
- due to the subject of the study, we distinguish the following evaluations: politics, programs, projects, thematic evaluations or meta-evaluations,
- taking into account the time criterion, we can list the following evaluations: preliminary (estimated (ad hoc, ongoing), continuous and final.
We can also distinguish two basic types of evaluation: democratic and convolutional. Democratic evaluation is a study based on a value-based assessment, in which persons participating in the survey (respondents) determine values recognized in a given cultural and social circle. These standards are the evaluation standards specific to a particular group at a given stage. We are dealing here with valuation assessment, which makes it possible to examine whether the measured features or phenomena and processes are actual values recognized by a given group. The convolutional evaluation is an assessment made in the natural context of social processes. During such a process, both beneficial and unfavorable factors are taken into consideration, which could influence the final result of the program of the plan. In a convolution evaluation, a detailed interpretation carried out on several levels of stratification of variables is important in order to accurately assess what was the initiator and what is the brake of changes during a given program.
The criteria for evaluation could be everything that determines the success of the project. It could be beyond others:
- usefulness, i.e. what consequences will the implementation of the project or plan have (both intentional and unintentional effects),
- accuracy, i.e. to what extent the objectives of our project are convergent with the objectives of the beneficiary,
- durability, i.e. whether the effects of the project will be long-term or one-off,
- effectiveness, or determining whether the used resources have turned into real effects,
- efficiency, or determining whether the set goals have been met.
Stages of evaluation
This process can be divided into several successive stages:
- set the topic,
- task key questions,
- setting standards and evaluation criteria,
- determining the scope of issues necessary to be analyzed in order to obtain answers to questions from point 2,
- locating sources of information that we want to obtain,
- choosing the most adequate method,
- preparation of tools, e.g. tests, surveys, forms,
- creating an evaluation plan,
- choosing the right tool for monitoring changes.
It should be emphasized that depending on the project, plan or policy, the individual stages may take a different form or be omitted altogether.
It is often difficult to select the evaluation method appropriate for a given project or program. Examples of the most frequently chosen methods are: document research, analysis of written materials, observation, computer simulation, case study, survey or logical analysis.
Evaluation is most often used in industries requiring regular checking of quality and progress of implemented projects, its effects and reception by the public. Therefore, the evaluation can often be found in politics, law, higher education or broadly understood education.