IntroductionThe process of policy evaluation is mostly concerned with the identification of the issues and needs of the target population. Therefore, in policy evaluation, the establishment of the goals and objectives is dependent on the identified needs, by the process of needs assessment. Those affected or involved in an evaluation program are referred to as stakeholders. Stakeholders may be individuals or groups affected by the issue, or those affected by the overall outcome of the evaluation process. Interviewing should take place as a way to identify the needs of the stakeholders before the process. Possible interviewees include teachers, parents, board members and the staff.
After assessing the quality of the final report of the needs assessment, stakeholders convene to discuss the quality of the report and further progress. They may choose inaction, make modifications or terminate the entire process. They may replace the program if unsuccessful or use methods such as consolidation, splitting or decrementing. Once a policy undergoes termination, there is still another opportunity for the program to be revived but in a different strategy that puts into consideration the issues and needs identified in the assessment.
Centres for research and development of policy evaluations conduct the process professionally because they usually have good experience in the field. They develop new evaluation approaches and models that make the process easier. A successful evaluation builds up early to help meet the objectives. There should be communication of the program to stakeholders for development of a good evaluation plan. Communication is important for improvement of the program’s validity and worth in the end and goes on throughout the process. The evaluators also determine the success as they affect credibility of the report. These evaluators maybe externally outsourced, or just selected internally among the existing staff.
The evaluation process is the same whether in a large or small organization, and follows the same procedures. The first step in evaluation is determination of the objectives and the goals of the policies. The next step is to determine the indicators of success for the policy. This is by the use of the goals set up in the first stage and they measure and show signs of the progress. An example is the comparison between attendance figures in five years in a school survey.
In the third step, the evaluators develop instruments for data collection that are chosen according to the objectives of the evaluation. An example is choosing a school that will be in use for survey of all students in it for development of a form to record data on attendance record in a particular timeframe. The evaluators then gather data that is analysed statistically or in table and graph forms. The evaluators may have access to records and information that is relevant to the evaluation. This also involves administration of surveys in schools included in the education evaluation process. Scores in tests are numeric undergo statistics analysis where there are calculations of the averages, mean, frequencies and range as a way to determine their significance in the study.
Tables, graphs and trend lines are mostly in use in the analysis of such data. Data collected from interviews and open-ended questionnaires go through analysis by identification of recurring themes and coding them to locate the occurrences. There are computer systems and programs that ease analysis of both verbal and numeric data. The next stage in the process is writing a report that includes the findings, conclusions, recommendations and presentations based on the research. Evaluators then know whether they should modify or terminate policies in education for the good of the students.
Fowler C. (2009). Policy Studies for Educational Leaders Technology, an introduction (3rd ed.). Pearson Education, Boston, Ma