David Baume FSEDA, HE Consultant
Chelimsky (1997) suggests three possible purposes for monitoring and evaluation, here adapted to the monitoring and evaluation of staff and educational development activities.
1. To account, or audit – to assure those who funded the venture that the venture has done, produced and achieved what it planned to do, produce and achieve; and done these things to an appropriate standard and in an appropriate way. This is summative evaluation.
2. To improve. ‘Evaluation can be a form of consultancy and, as such, do a lot for enhancing the thinking and work of those being evaluated’ (Knight, 2003) – evaluator as respected outsider or critical friend. This is formative evaluation.
3. To know or understand – what is working and what isn’t, and how, and above all why, in order to improve the activity being evaluated. The crossing from evaluation to research is explored in Baume (2002). A fourth purpose for evaluation may be added:
4. To build the evaluative capability of the evaluand1 (Baume, 2003). Evaluation, being very like research, is an appropriate academic function. The more members of the venture who are active in monitoring and evaluation, the better:
‘We note that the greatest value appears to be gained where [Subject] Centres incorporate self-evaluation and corresponding data-gathering into regular operating activity across the Centre team, and where the outcomes of self-assessment feed directly back into operational and strategic planning.’ (Oakleigh, 2008, p. 44)
Educational Development: The Magazine of the Staff and Educational Development Association Ltd (SEDA), Issue 9.4, December 2008)
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