What is the difference between assess and evaluate?

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    I think your question benefit from a bit of context, so you get an appropriate answer to your problem. Context can be very defining sometimes.
    – Eldroß
    Feb 23, 2011 at 10:14
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    I've seen a lot of valuable questions closed on this SE site. In this case, sure the question can be answered by looking elsewhere on the internet, but SE sites have such a high page ranking that they surpass the other references when looking for answers. This thread is the first result for me on Google when I search "evaluate vs assess", and I imagine that's the case for many other people and similar queries. So closing a question like this because it's answered in "commonly-available references" is bad practice IMO.
    – Dennis
    Sep 3, 2015 at 8:18
  • @Dennis So long as the question doesn't get deleted, it should still be available for public reference.
    – Lawrence
    Oct 5, 2017 at 13:33
  • What does it say about me when I read the question title asking about big bums (asses) and then wonder what kind of user asks what is the difference between the noun "asses" and the verb evaluate? :D...ho,... ho,... ho
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 6, 2017 at 9:33

5 Answers 5


To me, an assessment is concrete: the gold is .999 fine, the car is worth $4500, the patient is dead. (It's connected with an assay or an appraisal.)

An evaluation is much more subjective: this plan is risky but worthwhile, the chili is bland, that chick is hot.


My daughter asked me this as her BTec assignment has criteria, in ascending order of merit, of "explain", "assess" and "evaluate". Clearly the educational establishment here in UK thinks "evaluate" is the more demanding or precise requirement and my answer — which I still think is a good one — is that "evaluate" requires a more quantitative answer than qualitative. However they are synonyms in many usages and context is often the key, for example as above taxes are "assessed" and the usage is definitely quantitative in this case. I would "assess" a team member for performance review but "evaluate" their contribution to a project.


Generally speaking they are synonyms. In specific cases, only one of the word is used.

The Oxford Living Dictionaries gives the following definitions for evaluate. (Similar definition was given from the NOAD I had installed on my Mac Mini, the copy that comes with the Dictionary application together the OS.)

  • Form an idea of the amount, number, or value of; assess.
    • (Mathematics) Find a numerical expression or equivalent for (an equation, formula, or function)

For assess, it gives the following definitions.

  • Evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of.
  • (Usually be assessed) Calculate or estimate the price or value of.
  • Set the value of a tax, fine, etc., for (a person or property) at a specified level.

In a more common, non-mathematical, usage, such as "to evaluate a situation" or "to assess a situation" the difference in implication would be that evaluating the situation is more results oriented (such as viewing the situation while looking for solutions,) while assessing the situation would be closer to simply looking and analyzing the situation is it presently is with less of an inclination to look at solutions.


Evaluation - At the heart of the noun evaluation is the root word value, which means "worth." So an evaluation is an examination to find the worth of something.

Assessment - it means figuring out what someone knows or has learned.

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    And how about when you're looking at an automotive accident? Jun 11, 2014 at 9:53