Introduction: The evaluation of educational programmes is considered as an important action for educators in the field of nursing. Throughout the history of nursing education a variety of methods and models of evaluation have been developed and used to evaluate educational activities. Aim: The aim of this paper is to review the history of evaluation in nursing education, and to highlight its contribution to modern evaluation thinking. Methodology: A literature search of the electronic databases ProQuest, GoogleScholar, CINHAL+ and PubMed was conducted, benchmarking texts on evaluation and education as well as articles and documents describing evaluation theories and methods in education. Findings: Α significant number of evaluation models were developed and tested in real educational contexts. Their utilisation in education had a significant impact on course improvement and quality, but most of the evaluation models were criticised for their multifaceted nature. Despite this, their contribution to the development of modern evaluation approaches is evident. Conclusion: The history of evaluation in education highlighted the contradictory attributes of educational evaluation, its usefulness in different educational contexts, and its complexity in implementation. These opposing characteristics led to the development of novel evaluative activities focusing on flexibility and a synthesis of methods.