Summative Evaluation

Thinking Retrospectively

Summative evaluation is an impact assessment that purposes to determine performance based upon established values or criteria of a project or project process:
  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring/Controlling
  • Closing
The focus of Summative Evaluation is on the outcome. What is being reviewed in this context is:
  • Persons accountable
  • Process results
  • Procedural adherence
  • System-related, i.e., Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)
  • Historical records for benchmarks
  • Trended data to determine long term effects
Summative evaluation can also be used to analyze the consequences of functional project categories (AKA knowledge areas) on a project life cycle phase (i.e., initiating, planning, executing, or closing). Project knowledge areas include:
  • Communications
  • Cost
  • Human Resources
  • Integration
  • Procurement
  • Quality
  • Risk
  • Scope
  • Time

Summative evaluation:

  • is like the coach and player reviewing the game video and determining who was responsible for losing the game by one point; whereas, formative evaluation is like a basketball player talking to his/her coach as they are practicing (asking for advice on how to make better passing) to ensure they increase the probability of winning the next game.
  • is like taking surveys on existing, federally approved products to determine if the drug worked in a specific target population; whereas, Formative evaluation is like a health-care company holding a clinical trial (seeking to determine efficacy) on an experimental drug.
  • is like examining pimples and blemishes on one's face to determine why the skin is irritated or breaking out, whereas, Formative evaluation is like applying facial cream over time to see if it will hide blemishes and avoid getting more pimples.