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Different approaches to evaluation, whether the differences are based on methodology, epistemology, or ontology, are typically subsumed under the phrase models of evaluation. It is the way in which differences in evaluation theory and practice can be acknowledged and commonalities and differences in approaches are marked.

Charting Evaluation Models

There has been a proliferation of attempts to categorize models of evaluation, usually in charts that provide a comparison on a common set of characteristics. These charts name models and provide detail on some or all of the following:

  • Purpose
  • Assumptions
  • How the evaluation is organized
  • Questions asked
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Intended users
  • Primary methodology
  • Proponents of the model
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics

In 1974, Robert Stake prepared a chart with nine approaches to educational evaluation, a fugitive document that nonetheless provided the basis for many categorization schemes to follow. Ernie ...

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