A Parent of Evaluation: Daniel Stufflebeam, 1936-2017

Daniel Stufflebeam
Daniel Stufflebeam

One of the founding fathers of the field of evaluation, Daniel L. Stufflebeam, distinguished professor emeritus at Western Michigan University, died of heart failure on July 23, 2017, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was 80.

Stufflebeam developed the ‘CIPP evaluation model’ in the 1960s, CIPP being an acronym for Context, Input, Process and Product. This was one of the first academic approaches to evaluation to gain attention and remains one of the most widely used to this day.

Daniel Leroy Stufflebeam was born September 19, 1936 in Waverly, Iowa, and later attended Wartburg College in Waverly. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1958, received a master’s and Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1964.

He later recalled that CIPP’s genesis lay in his work – while a university student — as a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system in 1961. (He had moved to Chicago, where his wife worked, after discharge from the Army.) He earned a fellowship to Purdue and while there was assigned to write about a personal experience in education. “Because I had to substitute in a different school for almost every assignment,” he explained in the book Seven North American Evaluation Pioneers, “I concluded I might be the only person who had knew bad things were across the district, especially in the inner city schools. Otherwise, how could the district accept and continue with the status quo?” And thus was born his focus on context evaluation, although it would be a while before he knew he was involved in ‘evaluation.’

He took a position at The Ohio State University to lead its test development operation – developing the GED (General Educational Development) tests was one of his main projects — and while there was asked to help John Ramseyer in evaluating Ohio schools. This led to the founding of The Evaluation Center at OSU in 1965 with Stufflebeam as founding director. The center moved – with Stufflebeam — to Western Michigan University in 1973. He remained its leader until 2002.

Stufflebeam chaired the national Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation for its first 13 years, serving among other things as principal author of the committee’s original standards. He was also founding director of the Center for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation.

He is credited as author of 21 books including the influential Educational Evaluation and Decision Making. Among his honors, Stufflebeam received of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award from the American Evaluation Association in 1985 and the Jason Millman award from the Consortium for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation in 1999,  Western Michigan awarded him its Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award in 1984, he was voted into the Education Hall of Fame at Ohio State, and Purdue named him a Distinguished Education Alumni in 2015. After retiring from Western Michigan in 2007, he worked with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

“He will be missed by so many,” eulogized one of his former teaching assistants, Tanya Suarez, now a professor at Fayetteville State University, “but also remembered and his work will continue to be used to better the operation and outcomes of organizations around the world now and in the future.”

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Carolyn.

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