Evaluating the Development of an Innovative School Organization

What are we doing that is creating impact?

What is actually happening "on the ground"?

Are we working in the right way?

Do we get out of it what we wanted? 

These were questions asked by the leaders of a Swedish high school in Malmö at the beginning of the evaluation of a "model school" for developing a way of working with Education for Sustainable Development. The project was a joined investment by the Municipality of Malmö, Malmö University and The Swedish Natural Conservation.

The main focus of the evaluation was: How can we create a mindset, competences and an organization in a Swedish school setting that supports pedagogical innovation with the aim of educating young people to act for a sustainable society?

in traditional forms to build their knowledge of the subject. But we learned from the evaluation that they need to train working in innovative change processes where they collaborate with each other and with external partners."

Said by the school principal:

"The evaluation was sometimes a painful proces for us leaders - we  were realizing why the teachers were not always working the way we wanted. Fx we arranged training activities for the teachers

Evaluating Organizational Change

What is the impact of new organizational and leadership structures from the employees` and leaders` perspective?

Did we obtain the results that we aimed for?

Is the new organization working, for who and under which circumstances?

A big academic institution restructured their departments to get a better integration of research into teaching and practice for all employees. The institution used the evaluation as a knowledge base for further development of the organization. Going forward, the leaders wanted to strengthen the positive effects in terms of more research-based work. But also to minimize the risks in terms of a worsening of the psycho-social work environment.

Evaluating Long-term Social Change

How do we know that everyone is going in the same direction?

How can different partners work together to create longterm change for their clients and citizens?

ASKing has been doing on-going evaluations of several projects within the areas of social services, education, employment and health. The focus of the evaluations is often to study and support the development of working methods and collaboration structures between different partners in their joint service to clients. The aim is to support the clients in getting a better health, getting a job or being an active citizen.

Instead of just focusing on activities and short-term outcomes the evaluation helps the project owners to find out how core activities and processes are leading to longterm impact. An important part of the evaluation is also to support the implementation of project learnings in the whole organization. 

The institutional leader`s comment on the evaluation:

"Some but few people have experienced that the reorganization has affected their work situation negatively with a harder working pressure as a result." 

"The change to smaller working groups (research groups) has not led to any negative consequence for the employees as a whole. We dont`t see any clear bettering of working environment either."

Said by a department leader:

"I`m happy that we got an external evaluator focusing the development of our collaboration structures and giving strategical support. If we had carried out the evaluation ourselves we would only have done the following up of the clients in the programme."

Building Evaluation Competence

How can we work with on-going evaluation in our own organization?

How can  we insure that we learn not just from our successes but also from our mistakes? 

ASKing is teaching on-going evaluation of change processes through so called evaluation workshops. A team or a network of people work with their own project cases, learning from each other in a structured process of several group meetings with "homework" in between.

The evaluation workshop is led by Karen Ask. Karen has experience from teaching university courses for practitioners and has been supporting project groups in developing their projects in on-going evaluation.

Interested? Contact Karen   

"Have started to think a lot about the stakeholders and the communication with them and that evaluation is a process approach - that the "map can be rewritten along the way". 

Said by participants:

"It was a good learning process – I went from frustration in the beginning but along the way the puzzle bites landed."

"Got clear perspectives and tools to drive processes and to work with "the learning organization".


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