P. Cristian Gugiu – Interdisciplinary Evaluation Doctoral Student, Western Michigan University

April 5, 2006

The synthesis of multiple evaluative statements into a summative conclusion is a task often overlooked or avoided by evaluators, perhaps owing to its complexity. Despite its apparent complexity, however, synthesis should be a critical component of all evaluations. Synthesis is the process of combining evaluative conclusions derived from measures of performances across several dimensions of the evaluand into an overall rating and conclusion. This paper will discuss the strengths and weakness of two methodological approaches (i.e., qualitative-weight-and-sum versus quantitative-weight-and-sum) that can be used to synthesize micro-evaluative statements into a macro-evaluative conclusion. Finally, the paper will introduce the concept of summative confidence to highlight the need for determining the degree of confidence with which a summative statement can be delivered. Detailed illustrative examples from an actual evaluation will be provided for each concept.

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