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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas