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Module 8: Curriculum EVALUATION

In Module 7, we discussed the implementation of the curriculum plan. We looked at why people resist change, the role of teachers, students, administrator and parents in ensuring the successful implementation of change. In this chapter, we will focus on determining whether the curriculum plan implemented has achieved its goals and objectives as planned. In other words, the curriculum has to be evaluated to determine whether all the effort in terms of finance and human resources has been worthwhile. Various stakeholders want to know the extent to which the curriculum has been successfully implemented. The information collected from evaluating a curriculum forms the basis for making judgements about how successfully has the programme achieved its intended outcomes and the worth or value of the programme.

What is evaluation? Evaluation is the process of collecting data on a programme to determine its value or worth with the aim of deciding whether to adopt, reject, or revise the programme. Programmes are evaluated to answer questions and concerns of various parties. The public want to know whether the curriculum implemented has achieved its aims and objectives; teachers want to know whether what they are doing in the classroom is effective; and the developer or planner wants to know how to improve the curriculum product.

• McNeil (1977) states that “curriculum evaluation is an attempt to throw light on two questions: Do planned learning opportunities, programmes, courses and activities as developed and organised actually produce desired results? How can the curriculum offerings best be improved?” (p.134).

• Ornstein and Hunkins (1998) define curriculum evaluation as “a process or cluster of processes that people perform in order to gather data that will enable them to decide whether to accept, change, or eliminate something- the curriculum in general or an educational textbook in particular” (p.320).

• Worthen and Sanders (1987) define curriculum evaluation as “the formal determination of the quality, effectiveness, or value of a programme, product, project, process, objective, or curriculum” (p.22-23).

• Gay (1985) argues that the aim of curriculum evaluation is to identify its weaknesses and strengths as well as problems encountered in implementation; to improve the curriculum development process; to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum and the returns on finance allocated.

• Oliva (1988) defined curriculum evaluation as the process of delineating, obtaining, and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives. The primary decision alternatives to consider based upon the evaluation results are: to maintain the curriculum as is; to modify the curriculum; or to eliminate the curriculum.

Evaluation is a disciplined inquiry to determine the worth of things. ‘Things’ may include programmes, procedures or objects. Generally, research and evaluation are different even though similar data collection tools may be used. The three dimensions on which they may differ are: • First, evaluation need not have as its objective the generation of knowledge. Evaluation is applied while research tends to be basic. • Second, evaluation presumably, produces information that is used to make decisions or forms the basis of policy. Evaluation yields information that has immediate use while research need not. • Third, evaluation is a judgement of worth. Evaluation result in value judgements while research need not and some would say should not.

As mentioned earlier, evaluation is the process of determining the significance or worth of programmes or procedures. Scriven (1967) differentiated evaluation as formative evaluation and summative evaluation. However, they have come to mean different things to different people, but in this chapter, Scriven’s original definition will be...
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