Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
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Method Model:  Evaluation models (EVALUE)
Description "To evaluate means to make, with formal methods and in reference to some objectives and to reference criteria, a judgement about a situation, an activity, an organisation, an individual, an action or a programme; experts are mobilised to evaluate. To evaluate always involves comparisons, within time and/or within space, of several situations, organisations, individuals. To evaluate is also to propose, to recommend changes in rules, organisations, methodologies, cultures.

Reference models for evaluation are diverse and are conjugated or superposed in the present operations of evaluation, run in the universities [the conformity control, the peer-review, and the managerial model]... These models sometimes organise comparisons between universities. Three frames of comparison are possible : the evaluation can judge an university or a part of a university in comparison to the excellent universities; it can judge it in relation to standards, decided by the public authority or by the university community itself; at last, it can judge it in comparison to average situations (average of all the universities or of the similar universities).

These three reference models are concerning evaluations which are specialised, largely decided by authorities (external to the universities), and conducted by external experts. They do not make obvious the role of the internal evaluation and of the internal actors, the beneficial interrelation between the different evaluation fields. The results of the EVALUE research demonstrate the pertinence of another model : we call it the model of the 'pluralist, context-sensitive and dynamic evaluation'.

...The Pluralist evaluation associates and takes into account the analysis and the points of view of all the university actors and partners (stakeholders), even if they are contradictory. The dynamic evaluation compares the university to itself : which are the changes during the last years? The context-sensitive evaluation is sensitive to the different dimensions of each university context, particularly when the university is compared to other universities." (Dubois, 1998, pp. 3, 5, 21)

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