Descriptive Metaevaluation

A Case Study of an Interdisciplinary Curriculum

This article describes a metaevaluation of an evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Rural Health Training Program, a program that encourages recruitment and retention of health care professionals in rural areas by involving students in a community-based interdisciplinary curriculum. The Program Evaluation Standards (PES) of The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation provided a framework for the metaevaluation. The standards are organized into four categories. Utility standards address the information needs of those who will use the findings from the evaluation and include standards dealing with stakeholder identification, information scope and collection, evaluation impact and others. Feasibility standards are concerned with an evaluation being realistic, prudent, diplomatic and frugal. Two feasibility standards are political viability and cost-effectiveness. Propriety standards relate to the evaluation's legal and ethical obligations; these include service orientation, rights of human subjects, conflict of interest and others. Accuracy standards deal with the trustworthiness of evaluation data and include, among others, context analysis, valid information and reliable information.

Key Findings:

  • The evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Rural Health Training Program met most standards but did not fully meet some standards.
  • The PES was a “systematic and comprehensive mechanism” for metaevaluation. Use of this framework identified strengths and weaknesses of the evaluation that could be used to improve the evaluation.
  • The PES addressed important, but not typically considered, elements of evaluation, such as values identification, conflict of interest and service orientation.