ERIC Number: ED242068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Sneetches, Zax and Empty Pants: Alternative Approaches to Evaluation.
Patton, Michael Quinn
Involving producing, analyzing, and using information, evaluation is the central discipline of the information age. Both traditional criteria for good evaluation and standards formulated in 1981 prescribe evaluations that are useful, practical, ethical, and accurate. The burning question in evaluation is the utilization of information for decision-making. Incidents from stories by Dr. Seuss exemplify three major barriers to the utilization of evaluation information: fear, methods madness, and dogmatism. Educators' fear of judgment can be dealt with by placing evaluation in a cultural context, viewing it as one of the many possible ways of looking at remedial education programs. Methods madness occurs when attention to measurement dominates the evaluation process and methods become an end in themselves. The removal of this barrier lies in the current consensus that whether qualitative or quantitative methods are used, the methods must be assessed in terms of what questions are asked and what kinds of data are needed. Dogmatism in evaluation models and in preconceptions about what evaluation means can be countered by creativity, flexibility, situational responsiveness, and sensitivity to different ways of raising questions. Factors contributing to a high level of utilization of an evaluation exemplar are appropriate and relevant methods, active involvement of people affected, a clear focus to research, and clear action implications specified in advance. (MJL)
Descriptors: Decision Making, Educational Administration, Educational Assessment, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Evaluators, Information Systems, Information Utilization, Program Evaluation, Program Improvement, Remedial Instruction, Summative Evaluation
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the California Postsecondary Conference on Evaluation (February 1984).