Developing curriculum evaluation research in higher education: Process, politics and practicalities
- Cite this article as:
- Leathwood, C. & Phillips, D. Higher Education (2000) 40: 313. doi:10.1023/A:1004183527173
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Demands for greater accountability, globalcompetition, and concern about standards have allcontributed to the increasing interest in evaluationin universities in the UK. At the same time, bothpedagogic research and teacher development in highereducation are gaining prominence.
This paper describes the initial development of aprogramme of systematic curriculum evaluation researchwithin a `new' university. The focus of the research is a newundergraduate curriculum which emphasises graduateoutcomes and incorporates the development of core`capabilities' within the subject context. Our taskhas been to develop a longitudinal programme ofresearch that will combine both a summative evaluationof educational outcomes with formative evaluation oflearning processes to inform continued curriculumdevelopment.
Questions of performance indicators, measurement, andeducational outcomes all come under scrutiny in acontext of multiple purposes and stakeholders, themicropolitics of the university and wider debatesabout the purpose and effectiveness of undergraduateeducation. This paper explores these issues and theirimplications for the development of a curriculumevaluation strategy, describing the initial stages ofthe multi-level longitudinal design that is emerging.