One very useful approach to educational evaluation is known as the CIPP, or Context, Input, Process, Product approach, developed by Stufflebeam (1983). This provides a systematic way of looking at many different aspects of the curriculum development process. There is a risk, however, that it may be directed only by ‘experts’ or ‘outsiders’, and for this reason it is vital to identify ways in which various stakeholders can be meaningfully involved.

The ‘CIPP’ model of evaluation

Basically, the CIPP model requires that a series of questions be asked about the four different elements of the model.

Context

— What is the relation of the course to other courses?

— Is the time adequate?

— What are critical or important external factors (network, ministries)?

— Should courses be integrated or separate?

— What are the links between the course and research/extension activities?

— Is there a need for the course?

— Is the course relevant to job needs?

Inputs

— What is the entering ability of students?

— What are the learning skills of students?

— What is the motivation of students?

— What are the living conditions of students?

— What is the students’ existing knowledge?

— Are the aims suitable?

— Do the objectives derive from aims?

— Are the objectives ‘smart’?

— Is the course content clearly defined?

— Does the content (KSA) match student abilities?

— Is the content relevant to practical problems?

— What is the theory/practice balance?

— What resources/equipment are available?

— What books do the teachers have?

— What books do the students have?

— How strong are the teaching skills of teachers?

— What time is available compared with the workload, for preparation?

— What knowledge, skills and attitudes, related to the subject, do the teachers have?

— How supportive is the classroom environment?

— How many students are there?

— How many teachers are there?

— How is the course organized?

— What regulations relate to the training?

Process

— What is the workload of students?

— How well/actively do students participate?

— Are there any problems related to teaching?

— Are there any problems related to learning?

— Is there effective 2-way communication?

— Is knowledge only transferred to students, or do they use and apply it?

— Are there any problems which students face in using/applying/analysing the knowledge and skills?

— Is the teaching and learning process continuously evaluated?

— Is teaching and learning affected by practical/institutional problems?

— What is the level of cooperation/interpersonal relations between teachers/students?

— How is discipline maintained?

Product

— Is there one final exam at the end or several during the course?

— Is there any informal assessment?

— What is the quality of assessment (i.e. what levels of KSA are assessed?)

— What are the students’ KSA levels after the course?

— Is the evaluation carried out for the whole PCD process?

— How do students use what they have learned?

— How was the overall experience for the teachers and for the students?

— What are the main ‘lessons learned’?

— Is there an official report?

— Has the teacher’s reputation improved as a result (or been ruined!)?

Methods used to evaluate the curriculum

There are many ways to evaluate the curriculum. Here are some common ways. Several of these would normally be used in combination:

— discussion with class

— informal conversation or observation

— individual student interviews

— evaluation forms

— observation in class/session of teacher/trainer by colleagues

— video-tape of own teaching (micro-teaching)

— organizational documents

— participant contract

— performance test

— questionnaire

— self-assessment

— written test