This timeline offers a perspective on the evolution of how evaluation standards were created and how they help inform high quality evaluation models and processes in today's organizational, training, and instructional design settings.
Two separate professional evaluations organizations exist:
The Evaluation Network - university professors and school-based evaluators
Evaluation Research Society - government-based evaluators
The Evaluation Network and Evaluation Research Society are merged to form the American Evaluation Association
Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) is enacted under the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) essentially requiring agencies to consider project management tasks (goals, results, tracking progress, etc.)and conduct gap analyses of projects.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is reauthorized leading to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, the federal program that is the first to face higher levels of scrutiny using new evaluation standards. Opens further debate regarding how evaluation of a program's qualitative methods will be designed.
What Works Clearinghouse - Developed by the US Department of Education, the WWC had two purposes:
1) Provide educators, policy makers researchers and the public with a central and trusted source of proven methods in education
2) Promote informed education decision making easier through the development of a database that provide reviews of established interventions
Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) mandates system for assessing performance of all government programs be conducted every 5 years, with a goal of keeping policy makers (and the public) informed of relationships between funding and effectiveness.
Considers a program's:
Purpose and design
AEA establishes Organizational Learning and Evaluation Capacity Building Topic Interest Group to provide a forum for evaluators and researchers who study the culture and evaluation capacity of organizational learning (AEA, 2012).
Federal funding for social programs is steadily decreased resulting in "The Quiet Decade" in evaluation as a field. This, in turn, results in an increase in the number of internal evaluation units.
Increased scrutiny on federal government programs resulting in more accountability combined with the desire to increase efficiencies and competitiveness in a growing global market leads to an expansion of internal evaluation units to encompass more sectors including business and education.
Debate develops regarding the correct approach evaluation should take:
1) scientifically-based research and accountability
2) Innovative and creative quantitative methods
New terms begin to emerge:
-Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT's)
-Database of What Works
-Evaluation Capacity Building
4 major developments and improvements in evaluation over the past 40 years:
1) Evaluation has expanded and evolved beyond the initial government-based mandate to include consideration of larger organizational learning, appropriate resource allocation and decision making.
2) The number of evaluation professionals and associated organizations has expanded tremendously.
3) Many more academic and trade journals are now being published which provide greater exchange of ideas and break throughs in the field
4) Evaluation has become a matter of global importance and is being increasingly recognized in different nations.