Difference Between Measurement and Evaluation

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 03, 2023


Difference Between Measurement and Evaluation

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Measurement and evaluation are tools to determine the characteristics of something or someone or to monitor their performance. They are essential tools, and we often use them knowingly or unknowingly in our daily lives.

Both the terms, measurement and evaluation, are often used interchangeably. However, they are pretty much distinct from each other. Sometimes using just one of them may not show complete and accurate results. Hence, they are also applied together when necessary to check the performances of individuals, groups, or systems.

While the term measurement is applied frequently with numbers like measuring weight, height, distance, speed, etc., an evaluation is used to judge whether a performance was a success or failure. While measurement may be applied to determine the weight and height of a person, an evaluation would be to judge whether this person is overweight, underweight, obese, or healthy by experts. If an intervention is needed, an evaluation may continue by understanding why the person is underweight or overweight. Evaluation can be continued further when a dietician recommends a diet for the same person and judges how well that recommendation has worked for the client after a certain duration. Hence, the measurement data is often required to evaluate something further.

Sometimes evaluation is used when measurement alone cannot determine the values, strategies, effects, etc. of one's work, project, or program.

Measurement vs Evaluation

Evaluation and measurement are connected but are distinctive. While measurement assesses the quantitative data that uses numbers, evaluation is more about making a qualitative judgment that checks the level of performance of a person, a system, or a project. Measurement does not have much scope hence, evaluation is applied for the part where measurement cannot assist in determining a result. Sometimes evaluation uses the measurement data to come up with a correct judgment. Likewise, they are interconnected but have many differences.

Difference Between Measurement and Evaluation in Tabular Form

MeaningIt is the act of finding a number and relating it with a characteristic.It is a tool for assessing whether the performance of a subject or an object is a success or a failure.
What typeIt finds out the quantity of a given unit. It requires numerals.It is more qualitative and less quantitative as it can judge the value or performance of something without using numbers. It uses the data of measurements from time to time.
ScopeIt has a lesser scope as it can only make quantitative observations.It has a wider scope than measurement as it includes quantitative and qualitative observations and value judgment.
UsesIt is required to check weight, height, speed, distance, and all the other measurements that can be expressed in numbers.It is used to check how well something or someone performs, like – how well a student is doing in his school, how a development project helped or made the situation worse for the stakeholders, what procedure helped improve the condition of the person, etc.
What it asksIt asks the question, How much?It asks the question, How good? Why? and What?
Time and energyIt comparatively requires lesser time and energy.It requires more time and energy.
Logical AssumptionIt does not and cannot make a logical assumption.It can make logical assumptions.

What is Measurement?

Measurement is a process through which we can translate a characteristic into numerical representation according to certain standards. It is the comparison of an unknown magnitude to a known magnitude. Measurement often requires tools that we should use correctly, and it most often presents accurate results.

For example – a) Measuring our height with a measuring tape.

b) Measuring our temperature with a thermometer.

Measurement can be done only through quantitative observations which, are expressed through numbers. It includes performance-related measurements like marks and percentages in academics, and characteristic measurements like weight, height, size, speed, time, etc. Measurement is widely used in our day-to-day routine, and sometimes we do not even realize it.

To make a measurement we must know how to use the assessment tools and learn about magnitudes and units.

For example – We find out the speed of a car with the help of a speedometer. The car's speed is 70 kmph (kilometer per hour). Here the number 70 is the magnitude, and kmph is the unit used to determine the speed. This is how measurement works.

Measurement is very objective in approach and cannot make logical assumptions. This is the reason evaluation is required. While measurement does half of the work by calculating How much?, evaluation does the rest of the work by coming up with a possible judgment that answers questions like - How well?, What? and Why?.

Types of Measurement

Many experts have shared different types of measurements. However, in general, there are three types of measurements. They are:

  1. Direct – When we measure our height with a measuring tape, we can do it directly without knowing any other information. This is called direct measurement. This type of measurement is easy to measure and is accurate most of the time if the correct tools are used.
  2. Indirect – This measurement is when we measure something and then turn it into a measurement we need to know. Supposedly, we want to measure the height of a tree but we do not have the tools to reach that height. The method of similar triangles can be used in this situation.

For example - Missy wants to know the height of a tree. But she does not have the tool to reach the top of the tree. She uses a measuring tape to find out the length of the shadow cast by the tree which is 125 ft. and she then stood parallel to the tree so that her shadow lay straight with the tree's shadow and the edges of the shadow reach the same point. She then measures her shadow's length and finds out it is 7 ft. She knows her height is 5 ft. Now she calculates the height by using the formula: 5 ft / x = 7 ft / 125 ft

The answer she gets is 89.28 ft.

Therefore, she now knows what the height of the tree is.

That is how we conduct indirect measurement.

  1. Relative – This type of measurement is done by comparing one subject to another. For example – Checking a worker's performance per month and comparing it to other workers is a relative measurement.

What is Evaluation?

Evaluation is a method to check the value, performance, quality, or amount of something or someone. Evaluation has a wide scope as it deals with quantity and many other aspects.

For example – People living in dirty surroundings were suffering from transmissible diseases. When social workers inspected the place, they decided to organize an awareness program. They conducted an awareness program on 'Cleanliness and hygiene' in that area. The social workers later evaluated how effective the awareness program was by observing the surrounding, the behavior of the people, and the number of people getting sick with transmissible diseases.

Evaluation also uses the help of measurement to come up with judgments like- comparing a student's current performance with his previous performance with the help of scores and percentages. A person is considered tall only after measuring his height and comparing it with others. Therefore, both measurement and evaluation are required in this process.

Evaluation is also used to judge whether something needs to continue or should be on a halt. It checks how well a project, a program, or an individual has worked and how it impacted others. Through evaluation, we can understand whether the impacts were positive or negative, choose to continue or stop the process, and choose whether we should try other ways or not.

Evaluation needs more time and effort than measurement as it requires a lot of thinking and personal experience to judge something that we cannot calculate with numbers.

Types of Evaluation

The main types of evaluation are:

  1. Formative evaluation – It is a type of evaluation that takes place during the development process. It helps to improve the development procedure during an early stage of the program.
  2. Process evaluation – This is a continuous and ongoing evaluation that checks all the activities and how well these activities are done in a project or program. It checks whether everything is running smoothly and as planned.
  3. Outcome evaluation – It is an evaluation method to find out the immediate effect of a program. It measures whether the program affected the stakeholders in any way and if so, how well a program impacted the stakeholders or how well a program achieved its target.
  4. Impact evaluation – This type of measurement helps to find out the long-term impact of a program. It inspects whether or not the program has met its goals and if it did, how well it achieved its goals. This type of evaluation also looks into what caused hindrances or contributed to achieving the goals.
  5. Summative evaluation – This is the type of evaluation is conducted at the end of a program. It mainly looks up at the effects of a program. This looks into the entire cycle and helps to make judgments like whether to continue or halt the program, whether to expand it or not, and what recommendations can be made after its completion.

We must note that there are other types of evaluation according to different subjects and experts. The types mentioned above are the types used in general.

Main Differences between Measurement and Evaluation in Points

  • Measurement requires numerals, whereas evaluation can be done without numerals as well. 
  • Measurement can only find out the quantity of a given unit. Evaluation, on the other hand, helps in finding out the quantity, quality, and value of something.
  • Measurement is objective in approach, whereas evaluation is subjective.
  • Measurement is an older concept, while evaluation is a newer concept comparatively.
  • Measurement has a limited scope, and evaluation has a wider scope.
  • Measurement is used to check weight, height, speed, distance, and all the other things that can be expressed in numbers. Evaluation is used to check how well something or someone performs - how well a student is doing in school, how a development project helped or made the situation worse for the stakeholders, what procedure improved the condition of a patient, etc.
  • Measurement covers one or two attributes, whereas evaluation covers many attributes of a subject or an object.
  • Measurement comes before evaluation, whereas evaluation comes later.
  • Measurement can be done easily with the help of tools. On the other hand, evaluation is harder as it requires critical thing, reasoning, and analyzing skills to bring out a result.
  • Measurement uses a fixed set of rules and strategies to calculate something. On the contrary, evaluation may differ according to the attitude of the person who is evaluating.


Measurement and evaluation are crucial tools, and this world would stop functioning if we would not have them. They determine the characteristics, value, and performance of individuals, systems, programs, etc.

Both measurement and evaluation can be used together, but measurement can be used independently. An evaluation is often the next step after measurement. We evaluate something when measurement alone cannot determine the result and we often use measurement data before evaluating something. Measurement is also considered to be a part of the evaluation process.

Evaluation and measurement differ in many ways. While measurement is used only to bring out quantitative results, the scope of evaluation is wider. Evaluation can be used for quantitative, qualitative, value, and logical judgments.

Measurement takes less time and effort as it can be done easily with the help of tools and calculations. An evaluation, on the other hand, takes more time and effort. It does so because it is not just about calculating the results but we often have to judge based on our experience and wisdom.

Therefore, evaluation and measurement are different tools with few similar and many distinctive features but are often used together to determine a complete result out of a process, person, product, project, or system.


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"Difference Between Measurement and Evaluation." Diffzy.com, 2023. Fri. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-measurement-and-evaluation>.

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