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Evaluation in practice

Now that we have a better understanding of what evaluation means, in this step we will look at the role it plays in enhancing curriculum.

The ways to gather evidence for quality enhancement through evaluation depends on what you plan to do, or to use the words from Nevo’s (1983) 10 questions, the function and objects of your evaluation. For example, to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular teacher, you may want to consider students’ experience in context (i.e. in the class, or over a number of classes). Direct feedback from students could be useful in this case. If the focus is on what students’ learnt from a particular session or a course, a specific quiz/assessment might be more useful.

The role of evaluation in enhancing curriculum can be viewed as cyclical (George & Cowan, 2004) where the aims of the curriculum (or the learning outcomes) are at the centre and interact with all the aspects of curriculum design.

In this version, evaluation is a specific step with clear dependencies to the learning outcomes (in the center of the figure) and the learning outcomes drive all the stages of learning design. Each step has its own loop in which evaluation can play a formative or key role before decisions are made.

A logical model of curriculum development: evaluation is a specific step with clear dependencies to the learning outcomes (in the center of the figure) and the learning outcomes drive all the stages of learning design. Figure 1. A logical model of curriculum development (George & Cowan, 1999, p. 7) Used with permission

In the model above you can easily substitute ‘curriculum’ with ‘course’ or ‘class/session’. In fact, evaluation can be done at any stage and at any organisational level, but the methodology chosen will be directly affected by the aims for that specific context.

Want to know more?

If you would like to more about this topic of evaluation in practice there are additional resources listed in the Want to know more.pdf for this step.

References

George, J. & Cowan, J. (1999). A handbook of techniques for formative evaluation. Mapping the student’s learning experience. London: Routledge Falmer.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney

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