Evaluation& Textsammlung
Jan Hense  13 Aug 2004 - 08:45  Assessment  Evaluation  Textsammlung   


 Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 21:25:36 -0700
 Sender: American Evaluation Association Discussion List 
 From: Richard Hake 
 Subject: Re: Assessment vs Evaluation

In his ASSESS post of 10 Aug 2004 titled "Assessment vs Evaluation" Mark Davenport wrote:

"I often read in the literature and hear on the conference circuit people using the terms 'assessment' and 'evaluation' interchangeably, as if they were synonyms. Even more confusing, I have found the word assessment is used to define evaluation, and vice versa . . . . Personally, I don't think we need two terms to explain identical concepts (unless they occur in two completely unrelated fields wherein the risk of confusion is minimal). Certainly academic and student affairs assessment are related enough that we can share terms. . . . I have documented my thoughts in an internal white paper to my constitutents and would be happy to share it if you will drop me a note privately."

I hope Mark will place his white paper on the web so as to increase the readership and decrease mailing expenses. His post stimulated a 12-post (as of 12 Aug 2004 16:20:00-0700) ASSESS thread accessible at .

A similar thread (4 posts) titled "distinction between evaluation and assessment was initiated by Jeanne Hubelbank (2003) on EvalTalk and is accessible at the EvalTalk archives . One post in this thread led me to a "Glossary of Program Evaluation Terms" at Western Michigan University (Michael Scriven's new location), where these definitions are given:

Assessment: "The act of determining the standing of an object on some variable of interest, for example, testing students, and reporting scores."

Evaluation: Systematic investigation of the worth or merit of an object; e.g., a program, project, or instructional material.

Nevertheless, I'm with Mark Davenport in preferring to make no distinction between "assessment" and "evaluation." In a post titled "Re: A taxonomy" Hake (2003a), I proposed an assesment taxonomy for consideration and comment that is best presented in quadrant form cf., Stokes (1999):

                      plus Y
               Scientific Research


    Action Research     |  Institutional Research

Fig. 1. Quadrant representation of various types of assessment/evaluation. (Figure may be distorted by email transmission.)

For educational research, the X-axis represents a continuum from pure FORMATIVE to pure SUMMATIVE assessment of either teaching or learning. NO DISTINCTION IS MADE BETWEEN "ASSESSMENT' AND EVALUATION." The Y axis represents a continuum from complete privacy to complete public disclosure of results.

The locations of various types of research in terms of the type of assessment they offer are shown as:

"Scientific Research" see e.g. Shavelson & Towne (2002): upper two quadrants - always public and anywhere in the continuum between formative and summative.

"Action Research" [see e.g. Feldman & Minstrell (2000) and Bransford et al.]: lower left quadrant - usually private to some degree, and usually formative to some degree.

"Institutional Research": lower right quadrant - usually private to some degree, and usually summative to some degree, although it could approach the formative for those who study and attempt to improve institutional practice.

Leamnson's (2003):

(a) "classroom research" can be either "scientific" or "action" research.

(b) "institutional research" is generally NOT formative from the standpoint of classroom teachers.

In my opinion, the science education use of pre/post testing [for reviews see Hake (2002; 2004a,b,c)] is usually formative for both action and scientific research, since the object is to improve classroom teaching and learning, NOT to rate instructors or courses.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University 24245 Hatteras Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

REFERENCES Bransford, J.D., A.L. Brown, R.R. Cocking, eds. 2000. How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Nat. Acad. Press; online at , pages 199-200. This is an update of the earlier 1999 edition.

Feldman, A. & J. Minstrell. 2000. "Action research as a research methodology for the study of the teaching and learning of science," in E. Kelly & R. Leash, eds., "Handbook of Research Design in Mathematics and Science Education." Lawrence Erlbaum; online at (72kB).

Hake, R.R. 2002. "Lessons from the physics education reform effort," Ecology and Society 5(2): 28; online at . Ecology and Society (formerly Conservation Ecology) is a free "peer-reviewed journal of integrative science and fundamental policy research" with about 11,000 subscribers in about 108 countries.

Hake, R.R. 2003a. "Re: A taxonomy"; online at . Post of 9 Jul 2003 12:47:42-0700 to STLHE-L, PhysLnrR, EvalTalk, and POD. See also Hake (2003b).

Hake, R.R. 2003b. "Re: A taxonomy"; online at . Post of 12 Jul 2003 13:07:54-0700 to ASSESS, EvalTalk, PhysLrnR, STLHE-L, and POD.

Hake, R.R. 2004a. " Re: Measuring Content Knowledge," online at . Post of 14 Mar 2004 16:29:47 -0800 to ASSESS, Biopi-L, Chemed-L, EvalTalk, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, Physhare, STLHE-L, and POD. See also Hake (2004b).

Hake, R.R. 2004b. "Re: Measuring Content Knowledge," online at . Post of 15 Mar 2004 14:29:59 -0800 to ASSESS, EvalTalk, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, and POD; online at .

Hake, R.R. 2004c. "Design-Based Research: A Primer for Physics Education Researchers," submitted to the "American Journal of Physics" on 10 June 2004; online as reference 34 at , or download directly as a 310kB pdf by clicking on .

Hubelbank, J. 2003. "distinction between evaluation and assessment." EvalTalk post of 13 Nov 2003 10:52:00-0500; online at . The encyclopedic URL indicates that one must subscribe to EvalTalk to access its archives, but it takes only a few minutes to subscribe by following the simple directions at / "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" where "/" means "click on." If you're busy, then subscribe using the "NOMAIL" option under "Miscellaneous." Then, as a subscriber, you may access the archives and/or post messages at any time, while receiving NO MAIL from the list!

Leamnson, R. 2003. "A Taxonomy," STLHE-L/POD post of 9 Jul 2003 10:32:02-0400; online at .

Shavelson, R.J. & L. Towne. 2002. "Scientific Research in Education," National Academy Press; online at .

Stokes, D. E. (1997). "Pasteur's quadrant: Basic science and technological innovation." Brookings Institution Press.

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