The article examines the evolution of functions of evaluation systems. It is based on the comparison of evaluation studies conducted in eight evaluation systems in the Polish regional administration in two periods: 2007–13 and 2014–20. The findings are to some extent contradictory to the expectations formed on the basis of the existing literature of the subject. Although the analysed systems were established in response to external pressures, they support accountability as well as learning. These systems do not focus on procedural issues only, and generation of strategic knowledge increases over time. Numerous regulations imposed on the analysed systems suggest, however, that the use of evaluation in the analysed systems may be symbolic in nature.