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A concept that pertains to the definition of evaluation, definitions of its major concepts, its nature and relationship to other disciplines, and the rules of inference that govern it. The definition of evaluation is based on three evaluative predicates: (1) merit (goodness without consideration of cost), (2) worth (goodness under specific consideration of cost), and (3) significance (importance or relevance). Although many definitions of evaluation exist, they are often too narrow (e.g., limiting evaluation to general social/behavioral science research) or too broad (e.g., taking anything that generates useful information as professional evaluation).

There are three purposes of evaluation: (1) improvement (formative evaluation), (2) accountability (summative evaluation), and (3) knowledge generation (ascriptive evaluation). Evaluation objects are referred to as evaluands; evaluation subjects are called evaluees. Evaluation is ...

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