In the higher education sector, the evaluation of learning and teaching projects is assuming a role as a quality and accountability indicator. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how learning and teaching project evaluation is approached and critiques alignment between evaluation theory and practice.
The emergent realism paradigm provides the theoretical framework with a pragmatic approach to mixed-methods data collection. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the transcripts of interviews with 15 project leaders.
Four key themes on project evaluation emerged: how evaluation is conceptualized, particularly the overlap, even conflation, between evaluation and research; capability building within the sector; resourcing in terms of time and money; and the role of an action-oriented approach to evaluation. The authors conclude that misalignment exists between evaluation theory and the practice of project evaluation and that this relationship can be further inhibited by a project leader’s perception of evaluation.
A series of strategies for developing capacity across the higher education sector for project evaluation are presented. These include the development and provision of: a time allocation for evaluation in future and ongoing project plans with procedures to revisit the project and assess impact; models of how to incorporate evaluation into the research cycle; constructive feedback on evaluation reports from the university funding body; and networking opportunities to disseminate learnings from project evaluations.
This study focusses on the under-researched area of evaluation of learning and teaching projects in higher education, providing research-based evidence for strategies to develop sector capacity.
Huber, E. and Harvey, M. (2016), "An analysis of internally funded learning and teaching project evaluation in higher education", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 606-621. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-08-2014-0108Download as .RIS
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