A New Perspective for Evaluating Innovative Science Programs

Daniel T. Hickey, Steven Zuiker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


This paper outlines a stridently sociocultural perspective on educational program evaluation. This perspective emerged across successive attempts to evaluate science programs in a manner consistent with sociocultural views of knowing and learning, while still yielding conventional evidence of achievement. The perspective is characterized by (1) rigorous use of multiple-choice tests, performance assessments, and interpretive event-based analyses, (2) a dialectical approach to reconciling conflicting conclusions from different types of individual assessments, and between individual and event-oriented assessments, and (3) a pragmatic focus on the differences among various implementations of the innovation, with judicious, targeted use of comparison groups. Innovators facing the tension between contemporary views of knowing and learning and conventional views of accountability should find this perspective particularly useful. It is relevant for a broad range of evaluation contexts, including large-scale externally funded innovations as well as more informal practitioner-initiated studies, and should be useful in many content domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-563
Number of pages25
JournalScience Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this