Demetrius Charalambous - John Ganakas
Within this framework we focus on the crucial question of what is the ultimate aim of education today: is it just to provide students with the working knowledge necessary for them to compete and thrive within our continuously demanding society of information? Or does it seek to shape an academic environment of humanistic learning orientated towards the increasingly fading values of freedom, justice and peace? It is our strong belief that such questions should be at the heart of the current discourse of educational practices as valid and crucial for the process of developing existing educational policies and forming new ones for the future.
To this end, various types of approaches are discussed such as the formative and summative evaluation, the scientific, the humanistic, the responsive, the ecological or naturalist evaluation as well as other. Furthermore, the characteristics of curriculum evaluation criteria, such as measurability, validity, reliability, etc, are briefly analyzed.
In order that a more objective curriculum evaluation be conducted certain processes are proposed and analyzed, such as collecting data from a variety of sources and at multiple levels, the application of general and indigenous criteria, the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods, techniques and stages.
From the various stages that were reviewed for curriculum evaluation the following six were selected and proposed. These stages of curriculum evaluation are:
a) The preliminary stage, (which includes four substages-the preassessement of curriculum, the conceptualization of assessment, the preassessment of cost and of human resources for curriculum evaluation and the selection of staff-) aims at conducting a preassessment of the curriculum used and of the educational system; b) the planning stage of curriculum evaluation which consists of two substages-(the selection of curriculum evaluation design and the planning of the actual process of curriculum evaluation-) refers to the planning processes regarding “what” and “how” curriculum will be evaluated; c) the implementation stage of curriculum evaluation and collecting of the data during which the evaluation criteria are applied and the data are collected; d) the organization and data analysis stage which includes two substages-(organization and analysis)- purports to organize and decode all collected data; e) the stage for the interpretation and reporting of data during which the data are interpreted and reported; and f) the management of data and metaanalysis stage (which includes two substages- data management for curriculum evaluation and postevaluation-) attempts to make recommendations for improving the whole evaluation process as well as conduct follow up procedures for the revalidation of the results.
Finally, curriculum evaluation attempts in Greece are briefly discussed and studies are reviewed which show that no systematic evaluation procedures have taken place to evaluate the national curriculum by the state. The few studies conducted by individual researchers, analyze some of the factors and processes of the curriculum in Greece. This lack of curriculum evaluation in Greece created an unbridgeable gap which conserved and reproduced the structures of the national curriculum in Greece instead of reforming and changing it via an ongoing curriculum evaluation.
well established theoretical assumptions of these two fields as a starting point the author argues that the introduction of elaborate evaluation measures into an education system which can be regarded as a massive intervention into the ‘grammar of schooling’ will also produce discrepancies between intended and achieved effects. This assumption is ‘tested’ by analysing and comparing the empirical evidence available on the aims and effects of school evaluation in England and Sweden. The analysis shows that the aims of school evaluation can be paradoxical and that they can be achieved in different ways. In addition, there is strong empirical evidence that the introduction of school evaluation into the English and Swedish education system has also generated unpredicted, unwanted and even contra-productive side-effects. Any attempt to introduce elaborate evaluation systems into any given school system should therefore try to minimize discrepancies between intended and achieved effects of school evaluation. The article finishes by giving conceptual and practical recommendations which could help to minimize these discrepancies.