About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3471-3472 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

RE-CONFIGURING IMPACT ASSESSMENT: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY

G. Stoakes

Higher Education Academy (UNITED KINGDOM)
Evaluation is important, and it’s difficult. Just consider some of its dimensions:
• Questions of what constitutes knowledge
• Questions of what is valued
• Inputs-outputs-outcomes
• Quantitative – qualitative approaches
• Direct-indirect impacts
• Long time frame – short term
• Internal-external evaluator’ (Bamber, 2013)

The growth in evaluation activities over the last twenty years has coincided with the increased levels of intervention in the management of higher education by governments around the world. The need to demonstrate the impact of public investment in higher education, is vital to justifying its continuation. Indeed, ‘the urge to describe the impact of the work may be a symptom of the pressures to rationalise or reinvent it in the current context of higher education’ (Gray and Radloff, 2011). For evidence of the reinvention of the term ‘impact’, one need look no further than the guidance on the Research Excellence Framework in the UK, which defines what constitutes research impact (and what does not) in order to facilitate the greater targeting of more limited resources.

However, measuring the impact of particular interventions is far from easy. Establishing causality is only one of a range of significant challenges. The managerial aspect of setting measurable targets in order to demonstrate value for money does not sit comfortably with educational development (Brew, 2011). As with all organisations receiving public funds, the Higher Education Academy (HEA), which champions excellence in learning and teaching in higher education, was conscious of the need to better demonstrate to its funders its effectiveness and benefit to the sector.

However, whilst it was critical to the HEA’s future that it was able to demonstrate its value to its funders and subscribers, impact assessment has a wider purpose, rooted in its mission, to help higher education ‘to enhance the quality and impact of learning and teaching’. The HEA wanted to model good practice as a self-critical, learning organisation. In reconfiguring its approach to impact assessment in 2012, therefore, the Academy was committed to creating a culture of evaluation. Essential to this was a framework , which avoided top-down managerialism and engendered genuine ownership amongst the staff and one which was flexible enough to provide centralised evidence of the impact of the Academy on the student learning experience, whilst also reflecting the diversity of the individual activities being assessed. Above all, it needed a method of assessing impact which led to practical and demonstrable improvements in its services and programmes.
This paper provides a critical account of the evolution of the HEA’s Impact Assessment Framework and its implications for theory and practice.

References:
Bamber, V. (2013) Evidencing the value of Educational Development London: SEDA
Blackmore, P. and Kandiko, C.B. (2013). Strategic Curriculum Change: global trends in universities New York and London: Routledge
Brew, A (2011) ‘Higher education research and the scholarship of teaching and learning; the pursuit of excellence’ International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 5
Gray, K and Radloff, A (2008) ‘Impact evaluation and its implications’ in Stefani, L. (ed.) Evaluating the effectiveness of Academic Development New York and London: Routledge
Stefani, L. (ed.) (2011) Evaluating the effectiveness of Academic Development New York and London: Routledge
@InProceedings{STOAKES2013REC,
author = {Stoakes, G.},
title = {RE-CONFIGURING IMPACT ASSESSMENT: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {3471-3472}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Stoakes
TI - RE-CONFIGURING IMPACT ASSESSMENT: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 3471
EP - 3472
ER -
G. Stoakes (2013) RE-CONFIGURING IMPACT ASSESSMENT: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 3471-3472.
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