Participatory Evaluation in Education: Studies in Evaluation Use and Organizational Learning

Participatory Evaluation in Education: Studies in Evaluation Use and Organizational Learning

Participatory Evaluation in Education: Studies in Evaluation Use and Organizational Learning

Participatory Evaluation in Education: Studies in Evaluation Use and Organizational Learning

Synopsis

This text focuses on "participatory evaluation", an approach that involves teachers and educational administrators as partners with researchers in a broad range of school and school system-based evaluation tasks with the explicit goal of using such data to improve practice.; Participatory evaluation is a natural, suitable and effective approach to school improvement and educational change, and has been practiced by the editors and several colleagues for many years. Though participatory applied research strategies are growing in popularity, there is a paucity of documented empirical support for the approach. presenting a set of original empirical studies and a critical analysis of them this book will add to our knowledge about variations in the approach, conditions that support it, its viability within the culture of schools and school systems and its likely impact defined in terms of the use of research data and organisational learning.; The book will be useful for educational practitioners interested in critically evaluating the potential of participatory evaluation as an integral part of their own approach to educational reform. It will also clarify an agenda for research to further our understanding of the organisational benefits of this type of collaborative systematic enquiry.

Excerpt

This is a book about change in educational organizations. Specifically, it is about the conscious integration into the normal operations of schools and school systems of very deliberative processes of systematic inquiry and applied research methods. In it we explore what it is that researchers, either those employed internally within the systems or in some capacity external to them, can bring to the change process and how what is brought is received. Our intention throughout the book is to reflect critically on the processes we advocate. At the outset, we adopt a posture that acknowledges the deficiencies of merely describing, however enthusiastically, our success stories and sharing our opinions about the role of applied research and researchers in the educational organizational context. We have compiled an original set of empirical studies with data collected, in the most part, from teachers, school administrators, district administrators and researchers; the people directly involved in or affected by the collaborative research processes of interest. It is through their eyes and voices that we add to our knowledge about the sensibility and the potential viability of 'participatory evaluation' as an approach to organizational change in education.

Though most certainly of interest both to applied researchers and academics, this book is written for educators. It is written for teachers and administrators. Those who have had some prior exposure to or involvement in applied research activities, and those who have not. Especially, this book is written for those who are intrigued by the possibilities of applied research as a change lever and, in some sense, are seriously considering this route.

Part 1 begins with an overview of what we describe as participatory evaluation, couched in a conceptual backdrop of theory, research and practical experience. Chapter 1 culminates with an agenda for research and a challenge to researchers. Our first step toward meeting this challenge was to organize a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Division H, School Evaluation) held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 1993. At the symposium, five independent empirical studies spanning a wide range of educational contexts and locations were presented. In each of these studies, now presented in Part 2 (chapters 2 through 6 written by ourselves and Clay Lafleur, Linda Lee and Jean King), applications of participatory evaluation were critically considered from different perspectives. At the symposium, Michael Huberman and Marvin C. Alkin provided critical syntheses of the papers. Subsequently, Michael Huberman presented his ideas in chapter 7 and Marvin Alkin's ideas were passed along in written correspondence and incorporated into chapter 10. Along the way to drawing together the themes and ideas emerging from the studies we encountered fortuitous opportunities to enhance the collection with additional empirical studies that add to the richness of the evidence we present and consider. Chapters by Lyn Shulha and Bob Wilson and by Donna Mertens, Terry Berkeley and Susan Lopez appear in Part 3 and

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