Primary processes and the pursuit of quality: Past and present perspectives   Bjørn Stensaker
Past perspectives and debates…. <ul><li>Evaluation as a phenomenon in general emerging after WWII </li></ul><ul><li>a) Ove...
Past perspectives and debates cont. <ul><li>Critique of positivism (is man really rational? Is generalisation possible whe...
Current perspectives and debates <ul><li>Central issue in the debate: how to deal with values? (what criteria should be us...
Evaluation in Higher Education today <ul><li>Evaluation schemes a reflection of a changing policy context: </li></ul><ul><...
Evaluation: a key to understand the primary processes of HE <ul><li>Evaluation used to: </li></ul><ul><li>- determine repu...
The different underpinnings of peer review <ul><li>Is peer review: </li></ul><ul><li>- based on general consensus of value...
The development of peer review: <ul><li>” extended peer review” </li></ul><ul><li>- new groups of academics involved (need...
From Method (evaluation) to Content (quality) <ul><li>How to evaluate what academics do? (directly, indirectly, quantitati...
Studies of quality focuses on four central themes: <ul><li>Course evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Grading and outcomes </li><...
Course evaluations <ul><li>Are current course evaluation techniques effective? </li></ul><ul><li>- ”happy sheets” (problem...
Grading and outcomes <ul><li>How do/should lectures assess their students? </li></ul><ul><li>- coursework receive higher g...
National monitoring practices (NMP) <ul><li>Research and teaching monitored independently, and with very different consequ...
System standards <ul><li>What is the role of evaluation in HE? </li></ul><ul><li>- an instrument to instigate change?  </l...
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Primary Processes and the Pursuit of Quality: Past and Present Perspectives

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This lecture discusses one of the primary processes: evaluation. The presenter discusses evaluation schemes and the criteria needed as well as how quality is related to primary processes.

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Primary Processes and the Pursuit of Quality: Past and Present Perspectives

  1. 1. Primary processes and the pursuit of quality: Past and present perspectives Bjørn Stensaker
  2. 2. Past perspectives and debates…. <ul><li>Evaluation as a phenomenon in general emerging after WWII </li></ul><ul><li>a) Overarching belief: ”Social engineering”, positivism, quantification </li></ul><ul><li>b) Two forms of evaluation schemes: </li></ul><ul><li>- PPBS (future oriented, policy-relevant techniques: cost-benefit analysis, system analysis, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>- Social programme evaluation (the controllable experiment) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Past perspectives and debates cont. <ul><li>Critique of positivism (is man really rational? Is generalisation possible when the context change? </li></ul><ul><li>Change of perspective: </li></ul><ul><li>- from a belief that those in charge knows best..(”outside perspective”) </li></ul><ul><li>- to a belief grounded in enlighenment of those implementing reforms/practitioners (interpretative, hermeneutic perspectives -> extreme case: social constructivism) (”inside perspective”) </li></ul><ul><li>- from that time, one can identify a continuing debate between proponents of the two perspectives </li></ul>
  4. 4. Current perspectives and debates <ul><li>Central issue in the debate: how to deal with values? (what criteria should be used as ”benchmark”?) </li></ul><ul><li>- validisation: is it true? </li></ul><ul><li>- valorisation: is it good? </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant evaluation perspectives in use: </li></ul><ul><li>- Evaluation ”in context” </li></ul><ul><li>- From summative to formative evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>- Re-instate rationality (evidence-based approach) </li></ul><ul><li>- Pluralist approach (using competing theories and perspectives) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Evaluation in Higher Education today <ul><li>Evaluation schemes a reflection of a changing policy context: </li></ul><ul><li>- downsizing and transforming welfare states (relevance, ”the evaluative state”) </li></ul><ul><li>- resource problems (growth in number of HE-students) (efficiency) </li></ul><ul><li>- accountability issues (effectiveness) </li></ul><ul><li>Quality = relevance, efficiency and effectiveness put together? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Evaluation: a key to understand the primary processes of HE <ul><li>Evaluation used to: </li></ul><ul><li>- determine reputation (rankings..) </li></ul><ul><li>- resource allocation </li></ul><ul><li>- appraisal of knowledge (peer review) </li></ul><ul><li>- certification of students </li></ul><ul><li>- legitimation of academics </li></ul><ul><li>- ranking of students, academics and institutions </li></ul><ul><li>- promotion to academic posts </li></ul><ul><li>- etc, etc…. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The different underpinnings of peer review <ul><li>Is peer review: </li></ul><ul><li>- based on general consensus of values and understandings (within the discipline) </li></ul><ul><li>- just a process to enforce the autonomy, creativity and integrity of the individual academic? </li></ul><ul><li>- a conservative process emphasising values of the past, unable to recognise and appriciate innovation? </li></ul><ul><li>- or, a power struggle between competitive groups within certain disciplines or fields </li></ul>
  8. 8. The development of peer review: <ul><li>” extended peer review” </li></ul><ul><li>- new groups of academics involved (need for an ”outside view” of new academic spesialities/tribes and territories) </li></ul><ul><li>- people from business, industry or society more involved </li></ul><ul><li>- students are given a voice as members of evaluation panels </li></ul><ul><li>- ”the ordinary man” included in evaluations where ”big issues” are dealt with (technology assessment, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>More focus on legitimacy of the process? Evaluation as a political process </li></ul>
  9. 9. From Method (evaluation) to Content (quality) <ul><li>How to evaluate what academics do? (directly, indirectly, quantitative, qualitative) </li></ul><ul><li>What form of QA is most appropriate for HE? (control, enhancement, finding a balance?) </li></ul><ul><li>How can academic standards be secured and assessed? (examinations, relevance) </li></ul><ul><li>How can the outcome of HE be assessed? (employment, relevance, ”happiness”, democracy) </li></ul><ul><li>What are the links between QA and the improvement of teaching and learning? (is there a causal model, poor methodology) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Studies of quality focuses on four central themes: <ul><li>Course evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Grading and outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>National monitoring practices </li></ul><ul><li>System standards </li></ul>
  11. 11. Course evaluations <ul><li>Are current course evaluation techniques effective? </li></ul><ul><li>- ”happy sheets” (problem with response rates) </li></ul><ul><li>- ”student engagement questionnaires” </li></ul><ul><li>What is measured in student assessment of teaching? </li></ul><ul><li>Shevlin et al (2000): is there a ”halo effect” in student evaluation of their teachers? Charismatic teachers receive better assessments…(but, can this research be trusted, or is the result dependent on the design of the study..?) </li></ul><ul><li>Wiers-Jenssen et al (2002): what trigger student satisfaction? Academic quality..(but also institutional size, buildings, etc..) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Grading and outcomes <ul><li>How do/should lectures assess their students? </li></ul><ul><li>- coursework receive higher grading than formal examinations </li></ul><ul><li>- differences between academic fields </li></ul><ul><li>- argument for external examiner schemes (Norway, Denmark and the UK) </li></ul><ul><li>- cultural differences between countries (Bologna) </li></ul><ul><li>- In general, grading not high on the institutional/public policy agenda (how are teachers trained in grading procedures…?) </li></ul>
  13. 13. National monitoring practices (NMP) <ul><li>Research and teaching monitored independently, and with very different consequences </li></ul><ul><li>What is the effect of NMP? </li></ul><ul><li>- shifts in power distribution </li></ul><ul><li>- bureaucratisation </li></ul><ul><li>- permeability (exposure of HE) </li></ul><ul><li>- public relations (active use of rankings to establish a positive image externally) </li></ul><ul><li>Very few studies show a link between NMP and improvement in teaching and learning </li></ul>
  14. 14. System standards <ul><li>What is the role of evaluation in HE? </li></ul><ul><li>- an instrument to instigate change? </li></ul><ul><li>- an instrument to monitor change? </li></ul><ul><li>Why this focus on ´quality´? </li></ul><ul><li>- how should ”good” QA-systems look like? </li></ul><ul><li>- what is the role of various actors in such systems? </li></ul><ul><li>- how can current QA-systems be transformed? </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: quality is an integrated part of the governance of the HE-sector </li></ul>

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