Evaluation is a data-gathering exercise that helps understand the effects of our programme design and teaching on students’ learning. It involves collecting and interpreting information and making judgements about how we can improve practice. It is an analytical process critical to good teaching. Evaluation provides the detailed information that teachers and programme leads can use to improve their teaching, as well as ‘bigger picture’ information which can inform universities about the performance of programmes and individual teachers.
A key element of quality assurance in education is evaluation, which enables those planning and delivering programmes or teaching sessions to ensure that the outcomes, methods and assessments are aligned.
Figure 1 The Educational Paradigm
Kirkpatrick (1994) suggests that evaluation should be carried out at four levels:
- reaction – how satisfied the learners are with the learning process, how valuable it was, how the teacher performed, how suitable were the methods, etc.
- learning – what specific knowledge or skills did the learners gain, this should be linked back to your learning outcomes
- behaviour – changes in behaviour, capability to perform skills
- results - impact, outcomes or transfer of learning to the workplace, this is the hardest to measure because of other variables
How do you (as a teacher) gather information from learners about their satisfaction, learning, behaviour and results?
Where would you place the evaluations currently used in terms of Kirkpatrick’s four levels?
How do you think you could gather feedback on the higher levels?
Organisations are usually good at gathering information from and about students and programmes at the lower levels of evaluation but tend to be much less effective in using it to enhance the quality of their education provision.