Self-evaluation is a methodological approach to assess your own professional action and its results (internal evaluation) as an evaluation object. The practitioners do carry out the program or interventions and evaluate them at the same time. They determine the purpose of the evaluation, evaluation questions as well as the use and utilization of the evaluation findings (“ownership”, cf. Fetterman 2004).

Role of self-evaluation

Generally – but not necessarily – self-evaluation aims for improving or adjusting an ongoing action, program or intervention (formative evaluation) rather than a concluding assessment or examination of an action, a program or an intervention (summative evaluation).

Self-evaluation as an individual or organizational procedure

Self-evaluation can take place on an individual or an organizational level. If individuals evaluate themselves, it usually focusses on their individual process of working or learning (cf. for example the Experiential Learning Cycle by David Kolb (1984), based on experience-based learning by John Dewey). In this way self-evaluation is part of the standard repertoire in didactics at US-American universities and is a studying technique There are several approaches to assess competencies (cf. Preißer 2007) formatively in Germany now that show a structural similarity to self-evaluation.

Self-evaluation in Germany is better known as a procedure to evaluate an intervention, a program, an organization or its units. This organization-specific approach was influenced by research about theory and methodology in social work (cf. Heiner 1988, König and von Spiegel 1993) since the 1980ies. It was called a form of “specialists’ self-reassurance” (von Spiegel). Since the 1990ies self-evaluation gets used in schools more and more und was recently taken up in universities as well.