Measure beyond Pleasure: Evaluating the Impact on Learning of Out-of-School Programmes for Able and Gifted Pupils in England
AbstractSchool-education in England is replete with new projects and initiatives of various kinds. Many require formal evaluation of their impact and effectiveness, often carried out by researchers from higher education. One of these initiatives has been the development in recent years of ‘Advanced Learning Centres’ – out-of-school programmes for school-pupils. The author of this paper is now undertaking a three-year national evaluation of the impact on learning of pupils’ attendance at these Centres. This paper presents and analyses some of the issues and obstacles of doing this evaluation. These include facing the ‘Hawthorne effect’ of initial enthusiasm, the need to identify the historical context of out-of-school learning for able pupils, the difficulties of measuring against goals and intended outcomes, and tensions between the need for measurement and the ethos of the Centres themselves. The paper identifies ways forward for the evaluation process and relates this to evaluation of other similar projects elsewhere.
CitationInternational Journal of Learning, 2003, 10: 815-823
PublisherCommon Ground Publishing Pty Ltd.
DescriptionFirst published in International Journal of Learning, Volume 10, 2003