Welcome to the Program Evaluation Standards, 3rd Edition
After seven years of systematic effort and much study, the 3rd edition of the Program Evaluation Standards was published this fall by Sage Publishers: http://www.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book230597&_requestid=255617. The development process relied on formal and informal needs assessments, reviews of existing scholarship, and the involvement of more than 400 stakeholders in national and international reviews, field trials, and national hearings. It’s the first revision of the standards in 17 years.
This third edition is similar to the previous two editions (1981, 1994) in many respects, for example, the book is organized into the same four dimensions of evaluation quality (utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy). It also still includes the popular and useful “Functional Table of Standards,” a glossary, extensive documentation, information about how to apply the standards, and numerous case applications.
However, the third edition also has some new features that this six year development process called forth. Most notably, the 3rd edition provides
• extensive rationales for and connections among the individual standards
• integrated illustrations of individual standards in concert with other related standards
• illustrations of the roles played by contexts and cultures in all dimensions of evaluation quality
• a new chapter, “Evaluation Accountability,” that includes three standards highlighting the importance of summative and formative metaevaluation
• comprehensive and thoroughly updated documentation lists for each dimension of quality
• an updated glossary
• appendices containing the previous standard statements (from 1981 and 1994) for scholars who want to conduct comparative research
Most importantly, this edition is published in a spirit that encourages all stakeholders to get involved in the development of the next edition right now. The bylaws, principles, and operating procedures of the JCSEE and our role as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited evaluation standards developer call for widespread involvement and on-going quality control. We have begun the process already to identify errors, limitations, areas for improvement, and anything that needs to change from this edition to the next. By January 2011, we will have a wiki for uploading reviews, comments and suggestions. We want a lively and vibrant community of users to supply us with scholarship and with additional field trials and case applications to inform the next edition. We want you to say what works and does not work from your perspectives and with regard to your applications.
The JCSEE is a volunteer organization. We have relied on enormous investments of our own and other volunteers’ efforts these last six years. We are committed to these same inclusive and consensus-driven processes for the next revision. Please try out the 3rd edition of the Program Evaluation Standards in ways that make sense to you, with stakeholders and learners, in the contexts of the scholarship and approaches you create or are familiar with and tell the JCSEE what to consider in the next revision process.
It will not be another 17 years between revisions (we expect it to be approximately 5 to 7 years). The JCSEE will start looking next year for new task force leaders, members and other volunteers to contribute to the quality of the next edition. The time to get involved is right now. We encourage you to get a copy of the 3rd edition as soon as you can, review and apply it, and go to www.jcsee.org sometime after January 2011 for more explicit information about how to get involved in the on-going process of program evaluation standards use and development.
In addition, please be completely candid about what you want in the next revision. Be sure to mention the content and features that should be retained from this edition to help ensure the quality of the next. In addition, the many people who invested considerable effort will be pleased that you have found some value in it. However, also tell the JCSEE everything that you view as flawed or failed, or that just needs to change in the next edition. As the person who helped guide most of this almost seven-year long process, I take full responsibility for all errors and limitations and am eager to organize and provide your feedback to those who will guide the next revision.
And thanks again for your continued interest in and support of the JCSEE standards.
Donald B. Yarbrough, Chair
Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation