Compared to other fields of inquiry, evaluation is a relatively young discipline. Several methods for conducting evaluation, particularly in education and curriculum assessment, were advanced by scholars such as Ralph Tyler in the 1930s and 1940s. However, it was not until the 1960s that evaluation experienced a significant boom. Under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, social scientists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds were called upon to conduct evaluations of large-scale reforms designed to ameliorate the USA’s most pressing social problems. Few theoretical writings on evaluation were available to guide practice. Ernie House recalls that when he first entered the field of evaluation he ‘tossed all the papers I could find about the topic into a small cardboard box in the corner of my office and read them in one month’ (House, 1990, p. 24). With necessity being the mother of all invention, evaluators set to work on developing new ways of conceptualizing evaluation.1
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- From Evaluation Theory to Tests of Evaluation Theory?
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