Evaluation is the ability to compare pieces of information in order to arrive at correctness, identity, and consistency. Children who can properly evaluate an item or situation can make proper judgements of the item or situation.
The ability to properly evaluate is an important factor in problem solving. Problem solving means that children can evaluate different solutions, and arrive at the best one.
Examples of Evaluation at various ages:
A baby's mother has left the room, and she wants her mother to return. She has learned that crying works sometimes, but not always. Recently, she discovered that pressing the buttons on the TV elicits a major reaction from her mother. Baby evaluates her choices, and decides to push the TV buttons. Her mother rewards her choice by running back into the room.
A toddler is playing with a puzzle with various geometric shapes. Each shape must be properly placed in a matching depression on the puzzle board. She shows good evaluation skills by successfully discriminating among the various shapes and placing them in the proper depressions.
A preschooler sees an owl and a hummingbird. She correctly states that they are both birds. In doing so, she is using her evaluation skills to categorize both animals as birds, even though they do not look alike.
A high school student is taking a test. During the test, the boy sitting next to her quietly asks for an answer to one of the questions. She is able to evaluate the situation as wrong and does not help the boy.