Reinhard StockmannWolfgang Meyer

Evaluation in Germany: Where it comes from, where it stands, and where it goes


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Based on a heuristic model that draws from the theory of social differentiation and the structural-functional systems theory, the development of evaluation in three subsystems is explored: the integration of evaluation into institutional structures and processes within the context of the political system, the social distribution and public acceptance of evaluation within the social system and the degree of professionalisation within the science system. The central findings reveal that the political system is a major driver for the development of evaluation and that evaluation is firmly grounded at programme level, but a national strategy or a legal basis for it in Germany is missing indeed. Regarding the social system it can be noted that non-governmental organisations use the instrument of evaluation especially to generate learning processes, but the interest of civil society in evaluation is rather moderate. The institutionalisation of evaluation in the science system as core of professionalisation has advanced considerably over the last twenty years, but the currently observed stagnation does not lead to a sustained consolidation. All things considered, there can be seen an imbalance between the three central systems which urges to be compensated. Finally, three different future development scenarios are outlined.

Development, Evaluation, Institutionalisation, Future