Developing curriculum evaluation research in higher education: Process, politics and practicalities

Leathwood, Carole; Phillips, David
October 2000
Higher Education (00181560);Oct2000, Vol. 40 Issue 3, p313
Academic Journal
Demands for greater accountability, global competition, and concern about standards have all contributed to the increasing interest in evaluation in universities in the UK. At the same time, both pedagogic research and teacher development in higher education are gaining prominence. This paper describes the initial development of a programme of systematic curriculum evaluation research within a `new' university. The focus of the research is a new undergraduate curriculum which emphasises graduate outcomes and incorporates the development of core `capabilities' within the subject context. Our task has been to develop a longitudinal programme of research that will combine both a summative evaluation of educational outcomes with formative evaluation of learning processes to inform continued curriculum development. Questions of performance indicators, measurement, and educational outcomes all come under scrutiny in a context of multiple purposes and stakeholders, the micropolitics of the university and wider debates about the purpose and effectiveness of undergraduate education. This paper explores these issues and their implications for the development of a curriculum evaluation strategy, describing the initial stages of the multi-level longitudinal design that is emerging.


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