is systematic determination of
merit, worth, and significance of something
or someone using criteria against a set of
standards. Evaluation often is used to charac-
terize and appraise subjects of interest in a
wide range of human enterprises, including
the arts, criminal justice, foundations and
non-profit organizations, government, health
care, and other human services.
Evaluation standards and
Depending on the topic of interest, there are
professional groups which look to the quality
and rigor of the evaluation process.
The Joint Committee on Standards for
 has developed
standards for educational programmes, per-
sonnel, and student evaluation. The Joint
Committee standards are broken into four
sections: Utility, Feasibility, Propriety, and
Accuracy. Various European institutions have
also prepared their own standards, more or
less related to those produced by the Joint
Committee. They provide guidelines about
basing value judgments on systematic in-
quiry, evaluator competence and integrity,
respect for people, and regard for the gener-
al and public welfare.
The American Evaluation Association has
created a set of Guiding Principles  for
evaluators. The order of these principles does
not imply priority among them; priority will
vary by situation and evaluator role. The
principles run as follows:
• Systematic Inquiry: Evaluators conduct
systematic, data-based inquiries about
whatever is being evaluated.
• Competence: Evaluators provide
competent performance to stakeholders.
• Integrity / Honesty: Evaluators ensure the
honesty and integrity of the entire
• Respect for People: Evaluators respect the
security, dignity and self-worth of the
respondents, program participants,
clients, and other stakeholders with whom
• Responsibilities for General and Public
Welfare: Evaluators articulate and take
into account the diversity of interests and
values that may be related to the general
and public welfare.