Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Embedding an internal evaluation culture: Critical issues for consideration from an innovative model

Fay Patel, La Trobe University


Curriculum development and student feedback strategies in higher education contexts are entwined in multiple ways. The belief that curriculum development and student feedback are intricately linked as strong catalysts in the enhancement of learning has been exhaustively researched and promoted in the literature (Gravestock and Gregor-Greenleaf, 2008; Hubball and Burt, 2004). Few institutions have addressed the need to connect the two portfolios in a meaningful way. However, one institution in Canada combined both components (curriculum design and student feedback) of higher education practice into a dynamic academic portfolio that engaged senior administrators, teaching staff, and students in dialogue. This innovative model of embedding an evaluation culture was both an exhausting and exhilarating experience. It brought to the fore many critical issues that require further consideration of the impact of the model on all stakeholders. This paper presents a constructive critique of that model with recommendations for advancing higher education practice in embedding an internal evaluation culture. Based on the application of the Canadian model, it was found that inherent in an embedded evaluation model are the following imperatives, among others: Equity, diversity and inclusivity Commitment from stakeholders (teaching staff, administrators and students). Respectful and transparent communication Proactive and future oriented goals

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