Information and Communication Technology


Evaluation of the effectiveness of solutions

Evaluation is a process that students seem to find difficult, even though they make judgements about things all the time in their daily life,

Most people are happy to give an opinion on the latest film or video game They will comment on fashion, their school, what they thought of the exam they just took, but somehow seem unable to use those same skills to write an evaluation for a project or in an examination.

In fact, examiners frequently use questions that involve an evaluation aspect for discriminating A grade students from everyone else. I've seen this happen for O Levels, GCSEs, IGCSEs and A Levels, and I'm pretty sure it happens with other qualifications as well.

This page looks at evaluation and gives some practical tips on how to score marks when writing one.

Evaluation = answering questions

The sort of question that you need to answer will depend on whether you are evaluating your own work or someone else's.

For the IGCSE ICT examination, it will usually be your own work which are asked to evaluate. The specification states that you must assess fitness for purpose, suggesting improvements.

In which case the questions will be along the lines of:

Note that you will not need to answer every one of those questions for every evaluation, but if you are not addressing at least half of them, you are probably producing a poor piece of work.

Evaluation = making judgements

In order to judge something, you need to look at the evidence.

When making an evaluation, you need to show that you have looked at the evidence. This is usually done by means of a discussion.

Ideally this should be in the form of a piece of extended writing, but if you are short of time, use bullet points to summarise. You may not get full marks, but you will probably score more highly than you would by submitting an unfinished piece.

Whichever way you do the evaluation, don't forget to refer to the original work, quote key points, state supporting figures, give titles or numbers of graphs or diagrams.

You should look at the evidence from a neutral point of view. This may be difficult if the evidence is your own work, but your evaluation, and your marks, will be better if you try not to be biased.

Try to discuss both the good bits and the bad bits. Examiners see loads of evaluations that effectively say it worked, I enjoyed doing it and there isn't anything else that needs doing, they don't score many marks.

That doesn't mean that you have to invent bad bits if everything is perfect, but long experience has shown that it is rarely the case that you cannot improve on something. This is especially true if you've had to produce a piece of work under time pressure in an examination.

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