In this unit we will discuss the different evaluation techniques
which the head can use in assessing the performance of different
components in the school. Evaluation involves collecting information
at regular intervals about ongoing programmes within the school
and then analysing it. Data collection can be in the form of
general observation of pupils, seeking views through discussion
groups, peer evaluation, interviews, etc. This unit examines
these techniques and also considers the role of external agencies
such as the inspectorate division in the evaluation of the school.
Individual study time: 4 hours
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
describe different evaluation techniques
apply appropriate evaluation techniques to meet different
outline the different activities and techniques adopted
by external agencies such as the inspectorate service in the
evaluation of your school.
The various techniques of evaluation
Evaluation involves making judgements about achievement in
terms of set goals, but before you can pass judgement, you
must pin-point an area of activity which you seek to evaluate
and then seek information about it. Based on the information
you have collected, you are then in a position to pass judgement
on the quality of the activity, or the particular situation
in relation to the criteria set.
Any or all of the following techniques may be used to gather
Questionnaires or checklists: These can be used by
the head to obtain from pupils or teachers an assessment of
various aspects of school life, for example: the standard
of catering services in the school; the standard of work of
some specific teachers; the success of some innovations introduced
to the school. It is particularly important not to try to
evaluate too much at one time; instead focus on a relatively
discrete and manageable topic.
Observation of classes: This is a technique to evaluate
the effectiveness of teachers and the overall teaching/learning
environment in terms of physical facilities, for example,
chalkboard, classroom seating arrangements, ventilation, etc.
We can also use this technique to check the pupils' stationery/textbooks
and the teachers' classroom control.
Systematic reporting: This technique involves written
reports or diaries on a daily or weekly basis written by pupils
or teachers on, for example: chronic latecomers or absenteeism
from school; the incidence of various acts of indiscipline
in the school; or the quality of the co-curricular programme.
Interviews: This is a technique whereby data and information
is collected from pupils or staff through a face-to-face interview
focusing on a specific issue.
Peer evaluation: Evaluation often seems to imply someone
more senior evaluating the work of someone junior. Peer evaluation
involves co-workers (heads, teachers or pupils) using the
techniques described above to help each other.
Discussion groups: This technique recognises the views
of different groups, such as teachers in different departments,
school prefects, the various clubs and societies, in their
evaluation of different aspects of school life. In business
and industry such groups may be known as Quality Circles,
since their purpose is to evaluate their work situation and
then make suggestions for improvement. Local Teachers' Clubs
and national associations (for example, of school heads) are
really discussion groups on a larger scale.
Make a note of which of these techniques you use in your school
and of any problems encountered.
We will deal with each technique in turn to enable you to
reflect further on its development and application. But it
is important to remember that whatever technique is used,
you have to ensure that the information is recorded simply
and accurately and in a form that will enable you to analyse
it quickly. This is most likely to involve written data (for
example, questionnaires and diaries) but could include audio
or video-taping (for example, observations).
Supposing you want to assess a teacher of a senior primary
class. How would you go about the task? In order to obtain
information on the teacher's class performance, you might
decide to design a questionnaire to be filled out by the pupils.
The following variables might be a part of the questionnaire/instrument:
Class: age of pupil completing the questionnaire; punctuality;
commitment of the teacher to work; communication ability of
the teacher; the use of a variety of teaching methods; correction
of pupils' work; relationship with pupils; and so forth.
You may add more areas as you see necessary or perhaps exclude
some of these. In any event, a questionnaire for this level
of pupils should be simple, with short and close-ended questions.
After designing the questionnaire, you will need to ensure
that it is distributed to the whole group or a representative
group if the target population is too large. After administering
the questionnaire, you will have to analyse the information
in it and together with other collected or available data
pass judgement on the ability of the teacher as far as the
set goals of the school are concerned. For example, you might
want to express the results in terms of percentages and to
say whether the results are significant.
Imagine that a particular club or society in your school is
lagging behind others, that is, it is not very functional. Draw
up a questionnaire to be administered to pupils which would
evaluate the state of affairs of the club and provide an indication
of how to remedy the situation. Would other evaluation techniques
also be appropriate?
The questionnaire should be comprehensive and cover all the
various aspects of the club such as regularity of meetings,
quality and variety of activities, effectiveness of the patrons,
fees charged, contributions of members during meetings, issues
such as conflicts with dates of other meetings, etc.
The use of a questionnaire is an important technique where
concrete information can be collected from the staff and the
pupils on the issue to be evaluated. A checklist may also
be suitable in which simple and uncomplicated answers are
required such as `Yes' or `No', `Supported' or `Not supported',
or simple ticks are required on a graded scale or against
a predetermined range of answers. In order to get some objective
responses there may be the need for anonymity. However, this
could be supplemented by more subjective data from interviews,
Observation of classes
Observation of classes is a method of evaluating the teaching
and learning process, assessing the classroom performance
of teachers and providing a regular check on the state and
use of classroom facilities. It may be useful for heads to
organise routine observations of classes at different times
of the day in the school by different teachers, including
his or her own lessons.
Make a list of ten items you would observe in monitoring a teacher's
effectiveness in delivering a lesson in the class.
As we noted in the previous section observation might focus
on aspects of the learning environment such as physical facilities.
In addition your list probably includes materials which were
prepared for the lesson, evidence of a lesson plan, indications
that the teacher is communicating effectively with the pupils
on the objective of the lesson and a range of items concerning
pupil/staff interactions. Indeed, in order to evaluate the
extent to which effective learning has taken place in the
classroom, attention has to be focused on pupils as well as
the teacher. Therefore, observation will include, for example,
responses of pupils to the questions of the teacher, the time
given to, and quality of written work, and the use and availability
of textbooks. You might also want to evaluate contributions
made by a teacher to a subject outside the classroom, for
example, in a departmental meeting.
Draw up a programme of classroom observation which enables you
and your staff to have an effective and regular coverage of
classes in your school for three months. It should cover:
- a broad spectrum of teachers;
- all subjects on the curriculum;
- all classes in the school.
We think you will agree that it is useful to have some form
of policy and programme for carrying out regular classroom
observations. This should be done in such a routine way that
teachers and students become familiar with observations in
the classrooms. Such regular monitoring should enable any
deficiencies in the physical facilities and the level and
standard of lessons delivered by teachers to be rectified.
As may be expected, you will find teachers making mistakes
during their lessons, but you should not correct the teacher
there and then in the classroom in the presence of the pupils,
as this will inevitably destroy the confidence the pupils
have in the teacher. However, where a teacher's mistake is
likely to put the pupils or the teacher in an obvious danger
such as an experiment or the use of tools in a workshop, the
intervention of the head is defensible.
Interviews may be structured (following a set list of questions)
or unstructured (a discussion following no set plan) or semi-structured
(partly set questions and partly free discussion). The last
is the most common approach. You will probably have used informal
interviews many times to collect information from members
of staff, and will be aware of some of the problems surrounding
this face-to-face technique of asking questions and noting
answers (either mentally or recording on paper or tape). You
might like to spend a few moments jotting down some of the
advantages and disadvantages of interviews.
You will no doubt agree that a major advantage of interviewing
is its adaptability. A good interviewer will be able to follow
up leads: 'You mentioned that......', 'Could you explain.....?';
probe responses: 'Why do you think that?' and generally get
closer to an interviewee's true feelings, motives or attitudes.
This is something which a questionnaire can never do.
The problems are, of course, that a good interview can be
very time-consuming, and there are many opportunities for
bias. This can be as a result of the way in which the questions
are asked and also as a result of respondents giving an 'acceptable'
but inaccurate answer. Preparing for and undertaking interviews
and analysing the information collected requires considerable
care and attention.
In sum, as with many of the other techniques discussed here,
the choice should be determined by the sorts of information
you wish to collect, why and from whom. For example, if you
want to obtain information from younger pupils, you would
probably obtain better results from talking with them than
asking them to write responses in a questionnaire.
Continuous assessment of pupils' work involves a range of
techniques by which a head ensures that pupils' work in the
various subjects is regularly and comprehensively evaluated.
This could include the use of regular assignments, class tests,
projects, practical work as well as observation and oral tests.
Compile a list of the forms of continuous assessment used in
a classroom in your school over a period of a week (or more)
in selected subjects. Assess the adequacy or otherwise of the
test or assignments or other techniques used by the teacher
and the quality of reporting.
We give an example overleaf (Fig 3) of a checklist of equipment,
records and facilities which should be in place for the effective
administration of the school laboratory (excluding a list of
specific science equipment).
It is a useful exercise for the head to draw up a checklist
of important school records which should be in place at regular
times in the school, and then to evaluate the purpose which
such records are expected to serve in the school and their
quality. In the process, the head will not only have a handy
list or records, but will also have a list of staff who are
responsible for keeping such records.
Draw up a checklist similar to the one given in Fig 3 of the
records and equipment which should be available for the general
operation of the Fine Art Department of your school.
You might like to consider how often in a school term of three
months you would actually use the list and how you might use
it to evaluate the general effectiveness of the administration
of that department.
Fig 3 Equipment and facilities record
First Aid box
Rules and regulations on the use of the laboratory
Schemes of work
Department Head/ Science teacher
|Available at all
Should contain essential drugs
To be kept up-to- date
To be kept up-to-date
To be displayed conspicuously
Breakdown on weekly basis for each year
Available at all times
One of the important points to remember about such systematic
records is that for them to be useful for monitoring the effectiveness
of management and administration, they must be maintained
and regularly updated. They can provide a criterion against
which evaluation can be made. For example, taking Fig 3, Item
5, a quick assessment can be made as to whether the information
in the stock book is up-to-date.
Self-evaluation by peer group contribution
Peer groups in schools can be used to obtain information which
can contribute towards school effectiveness. For example,
various character traits manifest themselves more within the
pupil peer groups than in class and could be brought to the
attention of the head by members of the peer group. The head
might consider exploring this avenue to help identify pupils
who have particular character traits, or who have the potential
to take on responsibilities such as the head prefect, class
captains, house captain, games or labour prefects, etc. However,
it is an 'evaluation' technique which needs to be treated
with some caution and sensitivity.
There are sometimes specific situations in a school where
an evaluation can only be made by using the views of a range
of appropriate groups in the school. Let us consider a situation
where there have been repeated complaints by pupils about
the general quality and quantity of food available in a school
dining hall. It would be difficult for the head to obtain
an accurate evaluation of the catering services in the school
without seeking the views and opinions of all involved: the
catering officers, cooks, stewards, house masters and mistresses
who supervise the pupils during meals and the pupils themselves.
Thus, one obvious approach to the evaluation of the catering
system would be to call a meeting of this group of people
to address the issue.
The views and advice of this group would no doubt go a long
way towards an accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of
the catering services in the school. Can you suggest other
sources or methods of obtaining information? You will probably
have thought that a questionnaire might usefully be administered,
or individual interviews undertaken. Frequently a combination
of evaluation techniques are most likely to provide the range
of information which is needed in order to draw conclusions.
Evaluation and external agencies
It is important for the head to be familiar with the work
and methods of operation of external agencies who are involved
in evaluation, such as the inspectorate service. It is likely
that some of the techniques used by these bodies for the evaluation
of schools can be adapted for use in schools, and exposure
to new ideas and innovative practices in the evaluation of
schools will be useful. In this respect, the head could obtain
copies of reports of inspections carried out by the inspectorate
as well as guidelines used by subject inspectors for the inspection
Other external agencies are also involved in evaluating schools
for a variety of circumstances. For example, in Nigeria, an
inspector of schools at the federal or state level could visit
a school and render a 'state of the affairs' report on the
'men', materials and finances of the school. Similarly, examination
bodies like the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) conduct
a summative evaluation test for final year students in senior
secondary schools yearly with a view to selecting those who
qualify for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE).
The results of West African School Certificate (WASC) examinations
could be a performance indicator for the school. Other evaluators
are likely to include accountants, health inspectors, members
of the school governing board, and educational researchers,
all of whom visit schools to collect informnation on issues
specific to them and use the information to evaluate particular
problems of interest.
(1) Obtain copies of the inspectorate guidelines and reports
on various areas of inspection. Then examine them with respect
to the techniques used to evaluate:
- different subjects of the school curriculum;
- school management, including administration and organisation;
- co-curricular activities;
- boarding house and corporate life;
- school ethos.
(2) Extract from these documents approaches which are applicable
to the self-evaluation of your school, for use by yourself,
the assistant head and heads of departments.
School inspectors adopt a range of evaluation techniques in
order to gather information, draw conclusions concerning all
aspects of the school, and make recommendations for improving
school effectiveness. It is very likely that some of the practices
adopted by inspectors can be used by you and your staff in
order to undertake the self-evaluation of your programmes
A critical examination of the reports of external agencies
such as the inspectorate should provide you with some useful
insights into how to plan and execute a programme of evaluation.
This is the focus of the next unit.
In this unit you have been introduced to some important techniques
of evaluation, including: questionnaires, observation, interviews,
peer and discussion groups, continuous assessment and records.
You have also learnt that whichever technique you use, you
first have to record the information gathered carefully in
order to be able to analyse it and make judgements concerning
the questions being asked and issues addressed. Developing
evaluation instruments and analysing information may be a
little technical and you may therefore need to set up a committee
in your school to design proper school assessment instruments
like questionnaires, interviews, observations, diary keeping
and to analyse the information collected. Such a committee
can also help guide the planning and execution of an ongoing
programme of school evaluation, as explained in the next unit.
Your inspectorate should also be able to give you considerable
help in this.
Tabulate the main areas of school life, including the curriculum,
staff and students, discipline, pastoral care, environment,
finance and resources, etc. and the evaluation techniques
which you might develop and apply in each area in order to
help contribute towards improving school effectiveness.