What is the difference between the terms ‘Evaluation’ and ‘Assessment’? Before going to the question, it should be asked that is there really a difference between those. Many academicians think that the main character of the terms is same, just those are used in different situation. On the other hand, lots of people consider those as independent term which have different and unique character. So, a debate is existed in the academic area. I was searching the difference between the terms for long time and recently get two definitions from two sources. I also think the following two definitions are enough for explaining the difference of the terms.
Evaluation is the process of determining whether an item or activity meets specified criteria. It has several distinguishing characteristics relating to focus, methodology, and function. Evaluation mainly assesses the effectiveness of an ongoing programme in achieving its objectives, relies on the standards of project design to distinguish a programme’s effects from those of other forces, and aims at programme improvement through a modification of current operations (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/evaluation/glossary/glossary_e.htm).
On the other hand, a systematic process for determining goals, identifying discrepancies between optimal and actual performance, and establishing priorities for action is called assessment (www.ibstpi.org/glossary.htm). The systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of programmes to make judgments, improve effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future development can be called as assessment.
Author: Research Associate, Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]