Standards for Program Evaluations and Personnel Evaluation
In 1997, William R. Shadish authored a presidential address titled Evaluation Theory is Who We Are, which is aimed to address the issue of the importance of evaluation theory because it sets a common language for the professional field and forms a unique knowledge base. Before the presidential address, this author produced a book called Foundations of Program Evaluation: Theories of Practice in cooperation with Cook, T., and Leviton, L. The book is considered as a sophisticated and comprehensive work in the field of program evaluations. The introductory metaphor draws parallels between military field and evaluation theories. For instance, evaluation theories and methods are equated with strategy and tactic while evaluation programs are compatible with armament (Shadish, Cook & Leviton, 1991). Even though evaluation theory and programs has started to develop as a separate field comparatively recently, the early cases of evaluation of social matters have been noted in 2200 BC (Shadish, Cook & Leviton, 1991). This rise has been attributed to the rise of government spending on the social research in the 1960s, and the evaluation of such programs became an increasingly important issue (Stufflebeam&Shinkfield, 2007). The paper is aimed to review standards for program evaluation, its functions, a situation where each out of three generally accepted sets of standards can be most applicable, the complications with personnel evaluation, and the differences between formative and summative reports.
Standards for Program Evaluation
In order to describe the need in standards for program evaluation, there are three most important principles. They are: 1) to ensure the ability of program evaluation to serve stated purpose, 2) to bear its value for all the stakeholders in a morally righteous way, and 3) not to cause harm by its conduct (Stufflebeam&Shinkfield, 2007). For instance, the principles might be violated when the program evaluation is affected by self-motives, which can be of two kinds. The evaluation programs can be manipulated in political or economic interests. In this case, the standards should ensure fairness and objectiveness of conduct and prevent the misinterpretation of results. Those principles also ensure that standards set the guidelines for the field of evaluation accordingly and, even more important, when they are used as a part of the process of certification or licensing to perform certain businesses or services (Stufflebeam&Shinkfield, 2007). In addition, standards that are based on those principles are able to guarantee the quality of business or/and services and to protect its users. For instance, there are standards to program evaluation in public health field. If they would not be there or complied without considering credibility, ethics, and safeness, the conduct of programs aimed to ensure the quality of health services might be violated. The results can be harmful to a society with respect to health and well-being. Therefore, standards are an essential tool for the program evaluations.
Specific Functions of Program Evaluation Standards
According to the need of standards for program evaluations, they should carry on defined functions. Stufflebeam and Shinkfield (2007) defined some of …