You are on page 1of 6

8.1 Curriculum Evaluation What is evaluation?

Evaluation is the process of collecting data on a programme to determine its value or worth with the aim of deciding whether to adopt, reject, or revise the programme. Programmes are evaluated to answer questions and concerns of various parties. The public want to know whether the curriculum implemented has achieved its aims and objectives; teachers want to know whether what they are doing in the classroom is effective; and the developer or planner wants to know how to improve the curriculum product. McNeil (1977) states that curriculum evaluation is an attempt to throw light on two questions: Do planned learning opportunities, programmes, courses and activities as developed and organised actually produce desired results? How can the curriculum offerings best be improved? (p.134). Ornstein and Hunkins (1998) define curriculum evaluation as a process or cluster of processes that people perform in order to gather data that will enable them to decide whether to accept, change, or eliminate something- the curriculum in general or an educational textbook in particular (p.320). Worthen and Sanders (1987) define curriculum evaluation as the formal determination of the quality, effectiveness, or value of a programme, product, project, process, objective, or curriculum (p.22-23). Gay (1985) argues that the aim of curriculum evaluation is to identify its weaknesses and strengths as well as problems encountered in implementation; to improve the curriculum development process; to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum and the returns on finance allocated. Oliva (1988) defined curriculum evaluation as the process of delineating, obtaining, and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives. The primary decision alternatives to consider based upon the evaluation results are: to maintain the curriculum as is; to modify the curriculum; or to eliminate the curriculum. Evaluation is a disciplined inquiry to determine the worth of things. Things may include programmes, procedures or objects. Generally, research and evaluation are different even though similar data collection tools may be used. The three dimensions on which they may differ are: First, evaluation need not have as its objective the generation of knowledge. Evaluation is applied while research tends to be basic. Second, evaluation presumably, produces information that is used to make decisions or forms the basis of policy. Evaluation yields information that has immediate use while research need not. Third, evaluation is a judgement of worth. Evaluation result in value judgements while research need not and some would say should not.

Importance of Curriculum Evaluation

The question is : Why do we need curriculum evaluation ? The answer may be formulated in the following manner. To develop new curriculum. To review a curriculum under implementation. To remove dead-wood and update an existing curriculum. To find out the effectiveness of a curriculum. To field test curriculum under process of development.

Need for Curriculum Evaluation

The needs for curriculum evaluation may be best understood if we ask curricular questions and seek their answers clearly. The questions may be linked to the following aspects. 1. Improving the existing curriculum and programme. 2. Examining the impact of the programme developed a curriculum development process. 3. Reorganizing the existing programme. 4. Overall validation of the programme. 5. Collecting evidence for self-evaluation by the teacher.

As mentioned earlier, evaluation is the process of determining the significance or worth of programmes or procedures. Scriven (1967) differentiated evaluation as formative evaluation and summative evaluation. However, they have come to mean different things to different people, but in this chapter, Scrivens original definition will be used. 8.2 Formative and Summative Evaluation 8.2.1 Formative evaluation: The term formative indicates that data is gathered during the formation or development of the curriculum so that revisions to it can be made. Formative evaluation may include determining who needs the programme (eg. secondary school students), how great is the need (eg. students need to be taught ICT skills to keep pace with expansion of technology) and how to meet the need (eg. introduce a subject on ICT compulsory for all secondary schools students). In education, the aim of formative evaluation is usually to obtain information to improve a programme. In formative evaluation, experts would evaluate the match between the instructional strategies and materials used, and the learning outcomes or what it aims to achieve. For example, it is possible that in a curriculum plan the learning outcomes and the learning activities do no match. You want students to develop critical thinking skills but there are no learning activities which provide opportunities for students to practice critical thinking. Formative evaluation by experts is useful before full-scale implementation of the programme. Review by experts of the curriculum plan may provide useful information for modifying or revising selected strategies. In formative evaluation learners may be included to review the When the cook tastes the soup, materials thats formative evaluation; to determine if they can use the new
when the guests taste the soup, thats formative evaluation. - Robert Stakes

materials. For example, so they have the relevant prerequisites and are they motivated to learn. From these formative reviews, problems may be discovered. For example, in curriculum document may contain spelling errors, confusing sequence of content, inappropriate examples or illustrations. The feedback obtained could be used to revise and improve instruction or whether or not to adopt the programme before full implementation.

Rationale and practice

There are several purposes to formative assessment:

to provide feedback for teachers to modify subsequent learning activities and experiences;[2] to identify and remediate group or individual deficiencies;[2] to move focus away from achieving grades and onto learning processes, in order to increase self efficacy and reduce the negative impact of extrinsic motivation;[3] to improve students' metacognitive awareness of how they learn.[3] "frequent, ongoing assessment allows both for fine-tuning of instruction and student focus on progress." [14]

Examples of formative assessment

The time between formative assessment and adjustments to learning can be a matter of seconds or a matter of months.[8] Some examples of formative assessment are:

A language teacher asks students to choose the best thesis statement from a selection; if all choose correctly she moves on; if only some do she may initiate a class discussion; if most answer incorrectly then she may review the work on thesis statements.[8] A teacher asks her students to write down, in a brainstorm activity, all they know about how hot-air balloons work so that she can discover what students already know about the area of science she is intending to teach.[5] A science supervisor looks at the previous year's student test results to help plan teacher workshops during the summer vacation, to address areas of weakness in student performance.[8]

[edit] Benefits of Formative Assessments for Teachers

Teachers are able to determine what standards students already know and to what degree. Teachers can decide what minor modifications or major changes in instruction they need to makes so that all students can succeed in upcoming instruction and on subsequent assessments. Teachers can create appropriate lessons and activities for groups of learners or individual students. Teachers can inform students about their current progress in order to help them set goals for improvement.

In 2008, Katy Bainbridge began work on Align Assess Achieve, a method of teaching formative assessment to administrators and teachers.

[edit] Benefits of Formative Assessments for Students

Students are more motivated to learn. Students take responsibility for their own learning. Students can become users of assessment alongside the teacher. Students learn valuable lifelong skills such as self-evaluation, self-assessment, and goal setting. Student achievement can improve from 21-41 percentile points.

Summative assessment
Summative assessment (or summative evaluation) refers to the assessment of the learning and summarizes the development of learners at a particular time. After a period of work, e.g. a unit for two weeks, the learner sits for a test and then the teacher marks the test and assigns a score. The test aims to summarize learning up to that point. The test may also be used for diagnostic assessment to identify any weaknesses and then build on that using formative assessment. Summative assessment is commonly used to refer to assessment of educational faculty by their respective supervisor. It is imposed onto the faculty member, and uniformly applied, with the object of measuring all teachers on the same criteria to determine the level of their performance. It is meant to meet the school or district's needs for teacher accountability and looks to provide remediation for sub-standard performance and also provides grounds for dismissal if necessary. The evaluation usually takes the shape of a form, and consists of check lists and occasionally narratives. Areas evaluated include classroom climate, instruction, professionalism, and planning and preparation.[1] Summative assessment is characterized as assessment of learning and is contrasted with formative assessment, which is assessment for learning. It provides information on the product's efficacy (its ability to do what it was designed to do). For example, did the learners learn what they were supposed to learn after using the instructional module. In a sense, it does not bother to assess "how they did," but more importantly, by looking at how the learners performed, it provides information as to whether the product teaches what it is supposed to teach.
Chief Characteristics of Summative Evaluation in Curriculum Context : 1. It lends to the use of well-defined evaluation designs. 2. It focuses on analysis. 3. It provides descriptive analysis. 4. It tends to stress local effects. 5. It is unobtrusive and non-reactive as far as possible. 6. It is concerned with broad range of issues.

7. Its instrument should be reliable and valid. Broad Differences between Formative and Summative Evaluation : Characteristics Formative Summative Purpose To monitor progress of Curriculum by getting feed-back To analysis final status of curriculum. Content focus Detailed Narrow scope General Methods Regular, assignments, Observations Broad Scope Tests Projects Frequency Regular Weekly, quarterly etc.

1. It is the procedure to assess or grade educators' level of learning in certain period of time. 2. It tends to use well defined evaluation designs (i.e. fixed time and content). 3. It provides descriptive analysis (i.e. in order to give a grade, all the activities done throughout the year are taken into account). 4. It tends to stress local effects. 5. It is unoppressive and not reactive as far as possible. 6. It is positive, tending to stress what students can do rather than what they cannot.

8.2.2 Summative evaluation The term summative indicates that data is collected at the end of the implementation of the curriculum programme. Summative evaluation can occur just after new course materials have been implemented in full (i.e. evaluate the effectiveness of the programme), or several months to years after the materials have been implemented in full. It is important to specify what questions you want answered by the evaluation and what decisions will be made as a result of the evaluation. You may want to know if learners achieved the objectives or whether the programme produced the desired outcomes. For example, the use of a specific simulation software in the teaching of geography enhanced the decision making skills of learners. These outcomes can be determined through formal assessment tasks such as marks obtained in tests and examinations. Also of concern is whether the innovation was cost-effective. Was the innovation efficient in terms of time to completion? Were there any unexpected outcomes? Besides, quantitative data to determine how well students met specified objectives, data could also include qualitative interviews, direct observations, and document analyses

8.5 Phases of Curriculum Evaluation

1. Aspects of the curriculum to be evaluated

The evaluator determines what is to be evaluated which may be the total school system, a particular district, a particular grade level or a particular subject. The objectives of the evaluation activity are clearly stated.

2. Data Collection

Identify the information to be collected and the tools for collecting the data which may involve interviews, giving of questionnaires, tests, collection of documents and so forth. The evaluator also identifies the people from whom data is to be collected.

3. Analysis of Information

The data collected is analysed and presented in the form of tables and graphs. Statistical tools are often used to compare significant differences and to establish correlation or relationship between variables.

4. Reporting of Information

Reports are written describing the findings and interpretation of the data. Based on the findings, conclusion are made on the effectiveness of curriculum implementation efforts. Recommendations are made to reconsider certain aspects of the curriculum.