It’s all about terminology. Why are these terms important in evaluation? And what distinguishes them from each other?

It’s all about terminology. Why are these terms important in evaluation? And what distinguishes them from each other?

a) Needs Assessment
b) Monitoring
c) Outcome Studies
d) Testing
e) Measurement
f) Assessment

The terms assessment, monitoring, outcome studies, testing, measurement, and assessment all define methods to measure criteria.

Defining criteria is a key component of any evaluation. The measurements and methods used to develop an evaluation closely relate to research. Research and evaluation methodology may also differ in critical ways like how an evaluator or researcher determines if their outcome is successful, who determines criteria, and which criteria are targeted.

The definitions of terms may also be critical to an evaluation. Evaluations results must include defensible outcomes. Therefor, the stakeholders must be able to agree to the definitions of terms. If a term can be defined in multiple ways, it may be advisable to identify which definition the evaluator(s) would like to use and have a solid understanding of what connotations those terms may have.

According to Rutgers, term a is defined as, “The first step in developing an Extension program is conducting a needs assessment. This systematic approach seeks information from clientele or secondary sources as to a gap or need – a societal, personal, economic, or environmental issue, for instance, that must be addressed and that requires some planned actions to have a positive impact on improving or changing the identified situation. The following resources provide information on conducting needs assessments.”

I would be interested to see other sources for these methods from classmates and feedback on their definitions.

Rutgers, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (Ed.) (2016). Conducting Needs Assessments: Program Evaluation Resources. http://ift.tt/1ZPAxLb

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