Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

February 23, 2021

Previously, I shared about the CIPP Model of Evaluation, Phillips ROI, and the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation. Each of these offers something unique as you think about how best to determine if your instruction is having the desired results. However, if you have not identified with one of the evaluation methods another option is Kauffman’s Five Levels of Evaluation.

Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation is very similar to the Kirkpatrick Model. In fact, the first four levels are based on the Kirkpatrick Model. You can read about the Kirkpatrick Model here. Kaufman’s model includes a fifth level, though, that looks at societal impacts. Kaufman’s model also divides the levels into micro, macro, and mega terms. Let’s look at each of the five levels in detail. 

Kaufman’s Five Levels:

1a. Input: At this stage, the evaluator looks at the resources that are used to conduct instruction. Are the resources what is needed for the instruction? 

1b. Process: At this stage, the evaluator looks at how the instruction is delivered. Is the delivery method efficient and acceptable? 

Micro-level: This level focuses on the learner.

  1. Acquisition: At this stage, the evaluator determines if the learners acquired the knowledge they were taught and if they applied it in their work. 
  2. Application: At this stage, the evaluator determines how well the learners used the knowledge they were taught. 

Macro-level: This level focuses on the organization.

  1. Organizational payoffs: At this stage, the evaluator determines how the learning impacted the organization.

Mega-level: This level focuses on society.

  1. Societal outcomes: At this stage, the evaluator determines how the learning impacted the company’s clients or the larger society.

In my opinion, Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation is particularly useful for a few reasons. The first reason is the separate focus on input and process. This helps evaluators examine each aspect of the training in detail. The second reason is the division of levels into micro, macro, and mega. To me, this division focuses the evaluation. Lastly, the addition of a fifth level that focuses on societal outcomes takes a broader view of training and considers the impact on the organization’s clients. For stakeholders, this fifth level could be very informative and help them make decisions about where to place resources.

As you read these posts, I hope you are considering the best evaluation method for your library instruction program and selecting one that meets your needs.

Additional Resources

Deller, J. (2020). Kaufman’s Model of Learning Evaluation: Key Concepts and Tutorial. https://kodosurvey.com/blog/kaufmans-model-learning-evaluation-key-concepts-and-tutorial

Downes, A. (2015). An Overview: Kaufman’s Levels of Evaluation. https://www.watershedlrs.com/blog/learning-evaluation/kaufman-levels-of-learning-evaluation/

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays

Lauren Hays, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri. Please read her other posts about skills for special librarians. And take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterpriseand GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all sizes and budgets.

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