Efficiency – or, doing things right – is a crucial part of the success of any operation. This is where we turn to evaluation strategies.
That’s because, in order to measure the effectiveness of any decision we need to evaluate how well our efforts worked.
The good news? There are tools to help you accurately assess the success of any decision you make.
The Definitive Evaluation Definition
To evaluate is to determine the success of an action based on numbers, statistics or values. Evaluation, and the use of evaluation strategies, is not exclusive to finished tasks and is arguably even more effective on ongoing tasks as it allows you to implement further improvements maximising on their effectiveness.
But evaluation is not only about objectives being met, as evaluation establishes cause-effect relationships which allows you to understand what could be done to improve the effectiveness of the current task.
Formative evaluation: The word formative implies that this kind of evaluation will be used to “form” or “improve” a task in its next revision. In other words, Formative evaluation is the process of evaluating an ongoing task for the purpose of improving it.
Summative evaluation: Refers to the evaluation of the outcome of a completed task to show the long-term effects of the completed tasks as a measure of the effectiveness of that task. It often involves documenting the completed task as a form of “summation” or “finalization” of a task in order to observe the outcomes of the said task.
In order to properly evaluate any task, or use evaluation strategies, you need to start with a properly organized workflow. This ensures that you effectively evaluate the task at hand without missing anything. Before we begin discussing the design of an evaluation process, let us get acquainted with some common terminology that will help you better understand the process.
First, let us begin by understanding the purpose of a “methodology”. A methodology is a sequence of steps to solve a defined problem. It also involves the consideration of the various evaluation strategies in order to determine the ones that suit the current task the most. Finally, all the previous steps are to be documented in order to form a final coherent report of the intended actions to be taken.
Evaluation Methodology in Research
By definition, a methodology is a system by which you precisely study something. When it comes to evaluation strategies, having a strong basis of the methodology will help you reliably analyze and evaluate any process whether it is ongoing or completed. It can be considered as a plan which overviews the process of evaluation and it often consists of the following main steps:
1-Defining the Necessary Parameters for Evaluation
The parameters that need to be evaluated vary wildly and are often unique to every task being evaluated. Knowing which parameters to track is an effective way to ensure the success of any evaluation process and it often considered to be the foundation of any evaluation methodology. To obtain the necessary parameters, you need to observe the nature of the task as well as the goals set by the client for the current task. Here are some guidelines to help identify these parameters easily:
- Why does the client need to evaluate these tasks?
- How will this evaluation be used?
- What should be tracked in order to produce a coherent report?
- What data is visible to the evaluated audience?
- Which parameters are acceptable/ethical to track?
2- Designing the Methods of Evaluation
The creation of evaluation tools is often left to professionals and instead, preexisting tools are used. These tools are flexible enough and can be often used for any evaluation task. We’ll be discussing the criteria on which you’ll be choosing an evaluation method
- Criteria for evaluation based on the chosen parameters
- The proof of fulfillment of each criterion
- The size of the sample being evaluated
- How is the proof going to be collected
3- Approval of Design
This section involves the process of finalizing the design before the actual data collection begins. This is often done in collaboration with the person that assigned you with the task of evaluation as it involved turning the plan into action. The following are some of the common stops that happen during the process of approval.
- Is informed of the scale of the designed method of evaluation
- Makes the decision of whether the designed methodology is acceptable before the collection is conducted
- Approves the set criteria (with their acceptable quality standard) and then the data collection process begins
Now that the design has been finalized, it is time for you, as an evaluator, to being the process of collecting the data based on the agreed on criteria and standards. The process of data collection often goes as follows:
- The data is collected
- The process is properly documented to ensure that the process is reproducible
5- Reporting the Data and Client Feedback
Now that you have collected the necessary data, you can create a comprehensive report that can be understood by your client to help them implement any necessary changes. This is how this section is traditionally tackled:
- As per point (1c), the relevant data is presented in the report
- The report is checked by the client to ensure that it complies with the agreed-upon standards in point (3c)
- The client uses this report to introduce the necessary changes to the task and then documents the implemented changes and how they were affected by the report
Now that you know the basic outline that should help you build a methodological evaluation of any given tasks. Let us look at some applications of evaluation strategies used across various professional fields. This should further improve your understanding of evaluation strategies that will allow you to accurately assess and task.
Types of Evaluation Strategies in Teaching
When it comes to learning, evaluation is an important tool to ensure that the audience is being effectively taught valuable skills. The evaluation can often be done at the class, department or institutional level for various purposes that we will be discussing. But first, let us look at the various types of evaluation strategies that are used in the field of teaching
This form of evaluation deals with an ongoing task and aims to improve it by evaluating the effectiveness of the current method. To begin with, we will be discussing some of the formative evaluations that may be used in class to measure the effectiveness of the teaching medium.
1-One-Minute Paper: This method checks the audience understanding of the discussed topic through asking them to write down a general explanation of the topic being discussed in about a minute. This gives the evaluator a general idea of how much the audience understood the topic and the main points that are being focused on.
2- Muddiest Point Paper: Another effective evaluation method that focuses on the audience’s weakness instead of strength. The participating audience is asked to list the points that they understood the least which can then be used to determine whether the fault was caused by a disruption of the message being taught or individual’s lack of concentration.
3-Mid-course Evaluation: The purpose of this method is not to grade the class based on their knowledge but instead it is used to help them realize their points of weaknesses. This can be done by discussing the results with the class in order to recognize any common mistakes/trends which will later help you identify the necessary adjustments to the course that need to be made.
4-Direct Observation: This is perhaps the simplest form of evaluation that involves assigning a person the role of observing the course in action in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher. This often requires a professional in the fields of teaching as well as the currently discussed topic in order to ensure an accurate evaluation.
B) Summative Assessment:
1-Pre-post Tests: This method of assessment is a great way to show the progress each audience member has made through attending the course. By testing each member about the class’s topic before and after the teaching session, the knowledge that they have gained becomes very clear. This is a great form of documentation of the results of a course and acts as a proof of the effectiveness of the current course.
2-Audience Work Products: By giving the audience an assignment, their work can later be documented and analyzed in order to show their points of strengths and weakness which can be correlated to the course outlines as a proof of the effectiveness of that course.
3-Self-assessment: Arguably, the most important form of summative assessment where you yourself can reflect back on the session to identify the points of strengths and weaknesses that occurred during the class. This will help you develop an improved strategy for the next course.
1-Post-course Surveys: This form of evaluation asks individuals that have already taken the course to answer a survey stating their opinion about the course. Typically, they will be asked about any trouble they had with the course, what were the most interesting topics and what valuable skills have they acquired from the said course. Additionally, the survey may also include a section where survey takers may provide some of their suggestions.
2-Grade Assessment: This indirect form evaluation involved the collection of grades after the course has been concluded as a measurement of the effectiveness of the lecture. This often does not provide any insights regarding any problems with the teaching method however it serves as an initial indicator to alert the management of any issues with the course.
3- Peer Review: Often in teaching facilities, your course is a prerequisite for other courses and you can use this opportunity as a good source of evaluation from your peers where they can determine whether the students coming from your course have learned all the necessary material relevant to their continuation. Additionally, as professionals of the same field, you can share valuable tips regarding improving the process of teaching and communication.
Now that we have discussed the various evaluation methods that are relevant to teaching, let us look at the various parameters that you will typically be evaluating:
1-Delivery: This parameter is concerned with the instructor to class communication. You can regard it as the amount of information said by the instructor vs the amount of information that the class comprehends. Typically, this parameter should be as close to 100% as possible because having good course materials doesn’t necessarily mean that the course is good. There are several factors that might decrease this parameter like the length of each session, the difficulty of the content, and the prerequisite knowledge the attendee is expected to have.
2-Department Work: This parameter mainly focuses on the efforts done by the department to facilitate the teaching process.
3-Teaching Innovation and Development: Included in this parameter are any efforts being made by the instructors to improve a course based on previous experiences or attempts to innovate through the implementation of new teaching methods.
4-Course Planning: This parameter measures the amount of effort being put by the instructors in designing and planning the course in order to ensure that the attendees have a streamlined learning experience. Factors such as having a consistent schedule and appropriate duration for content are some of the most important when it comes to planning.
OVERVIEW: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
To recap: the process of systematically evaluating a task is known as the evaluation methodology.
This can mainly be divided into “formative” and “summative” depending on the purpose of the evaluation. A formative assessment deals with the adjustment of the current task while a summative evaluation acts as a summation of the efforts that were put into the task.
It is often important to have a proper plan before you begin evaluating and we have provided you with a simple evaluation plan that should help you properly construct your evaluation strategy.
We have observed several evaluation efforts (mostly in teaching and research) to give you a reference of the most common evaluation strategies.
We hope that this guide helps you accurately evaluate any task and, for more useful entrepreneurship skills, check out our guide on Guerilla advertising.