Evaluating Development in Higher Education
A Guide for Steering Committees, Contractors and Project Staff
Department of Employment Further and Higher Education Branch
Extract from pages 7 and 8
The second part of this Guide is designed mainly for those involved in the detailed operation of projects, and those preparing evaluation strategies and reports, although it may also he of interest to members of Steering Groups and institutional managers.
1 Purposes of Evaluation
Although evaluation approaches will vary according to the project and its particular objectives, there are at least four key issues which should always be addressed. They are listed below, with illustrative examples of the kinds of question which readers, Steering Group members, the Department and others might wish to see answered:
assessing contract compliance and value for money;
contributing formatively to development;
what have we learned from work so far?
informing future agenda building and gathering intelligence.
what new issues has the work identified for future research or development?
informing the review of development and evaluation methodology
- what have we learned about techniques and methods of development work?
- what have we learned about approaches to evaluation?
To achieve this, every project must have an evaluation strategy, agreed by the Steering Group, and embodying the following principles:
evaluation should seek to inform ongoing work wherever possible
evaluation should be carried out regularly, to maximise opportunities for longitudinal study.
evaluation should seek to involve all the partners in the project and, as far is possible, be carried out jointly
evaluation reports should he made widely available unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise
evaluation should maximise the use of material already gathered for other purposes, and avoid creating additional processes for collecting evidence
since evaluation of the individual project will feed into the, broader evaluation of the Department's work, individual projects must address the Department's "Project Lever questions, as well as local ones.
evaluation must seek to he reliable, valid, consistent and objective; to discriminate fairly on the basis of explicit criteria; and to be carried out in a way which is regarded as fair and acceptable, to all parties.