Edited by Reinhard Stockmann
* While only a few years back some people in Germany still had difficulty pronouncing the word ‘evaluation’ correctly or occasionally confused it with the term ‘evolution’, it is more popular nowadays than ever. Since the PISA assessment, the word has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Evaluation is ‘in’. It is modern. It stands for the kind of responsible policy which is also prepared to make commitments involving the (un)intended consequences of its actions. The demand for evaluation is on the increase, and it is being satisfied. But how? With what quality? And where have all these evaluation experts for whom there is such a sudden need come from? Care is called for! The fact that it says evaluation on the label does not necessarily mean that evaluation is what is actually in the can. It is not even certain that those who think they know what evaluation is do actually know. One of the scientific editors (!) at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), for example, makes fun of the new study course ‘Master of Evaluation’ in an article entitled ‘Werdet Werter’1 (12 September 2004). But he fails to recognize that evaluation is, of course, by no means merely a matter of pronouncing ‘value judgements’, but rather the analytical ‘assessment’ of facts which have been gathered as objectively as possible with the aid of mostly social scientific research methods. So if not even the FAZ knows what evaluation is, some enlightenment seems to be necessary. This task is being...