Introduction to Evaluation - Toni Schiavone
I now want to move the focus to Evaluation. Effective evaluation is difficult. How do you know that standards have improved because of a particular project or initiative in a world that doesn’t stand still?
It’s difficult enough to demonstrate that standards have actually improved let alone try to ascribe this improvement to a particular set of actions.
There’s also a danger that we only undertake activities that can be evaluated easily. This type of evaluation-led activity is not necessarily addressing the most serious issues but because it’s relatively easy to evaluate, it gets priority. We need to beware of this approach.
One of the most common approaches we’ve used to date is perception. This uses surveys to find out whether key players think that change has taken place. It has many strengths, including the fact that if you think something has happened it often has.
However, it is subjective rather than object, although rigorous and challenging questioning built in to the design of survey questionnaires can make it more objective.
Of course, it possible to contract specialist agencies to evaluate every activity but this tends to be expensive and is out of reach of most schools and colleges.
1) How do you evaluate an initiative to improve basic skills effectively?
2) What are the difficulties with effective evaluation?
3) How can these difficulties be overcome?