Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Miron


Program evaluation does not take place in a vacuum. Its context is the interaction of political, economic, and technological developments that influenced the formation of federal policies for mandated evaluation requirements. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 established policies to provide “financial assistance to local educational agencies serving areas with concentrations of children from low-income families to expand and improve their educational program” (Public Law 89-10—Apr. 11, 1965). This legislation also had another consequence: it helped drive the establishment of educational program evaluation and the field of evaluation as a profession.

The purpose of this study is to examine the interaction of national political, economic, and technological factors as they influenced the concurrent evolution of federally mandated evaluation requirements. More specifically, the study focuses on Title 1 of ESEA and it examines the growth of the field of evaluation as a practice over four decades, eight administrations, and nine reauthorizations to the ESEA legislation.

Two methods of data collection provide the findings for the study: (1) an extensive examination of historical documents and, (2) interviews with key informants. Nine key informants were interviewed, of whom six are considered pioneers of the field of program evaluation. The conceptual framework that guides this study is an ecological model based on four unique spheres or groups of factors: (1) international and global factors, (2) national political, economic, and technological factors, (3) federal policies, regulations, and legislation, and (4) Title I evaluation requirements. The influence of national factors on evaluation requirements was found to be both direct and indirect.

The 1960s civil rights movement helped spark the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which included a mandate to evaluate federally funded programs and thus launched the specialty of program evaluation. Over the subsequent four decades, shifting political climates, the ebb and flow of economic forces, and the rapid emergence of new technologies all contributed to changing goals, standards and methods and values underlying program evaluation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access