WCE Evaluation – What’s Happening?
We have adopted a developmental evaluation approach for the WCE Initiative. This approach involves choosing evaluation tools and methods that are based on what is appropriate for the context in which we are working. There is no set process, things can change and everyone in the team has input into deciding ways forward.
In the WCE Initiative, we are developing our evaluation processes in a collaborative way. We wanted to make sure the Indigenous voice was heard throughout our evaluation framework. Recently, we have been spending time making sure that the whole team has had input into, and agrees on,our evaluation principles and processes. We thought it was important to include both ways of thinking (mainstream and Indigenous) within these.
Campus based staff and community based staff together have developed a set of overarching principles to guide our evaluation at all times:
- We want to do the best we can together.
- We want to respectfully share knowledge both ways.
- Everyone has equal say and can be honest. It’s okay to disagree.
- It’s okay to make mistakes – they are opportunities for positive change.
- Indigenous people know the most about their community and their culture.
- We must be transparent all the way through the WCE Initiative.
There are 2 ‘types’ of evaluation within this Initiative:
Evaluation for our ongoing learning – this involves cycles of collecting, planning, doing, and reflecting. Valda Shannon, a community based WCE researcher, says this cycle reminds her of a whirlywind:
“It is turning and through each cycle we throw out the rubbish and pick up new skills and knowledge. This makes us stronger.”
Evaluation changes made through our work – this is to figure out what we have learnt, and what changes have been made through our work.
There are 2 ‘levels’ of evaluation within this Initiative:
Community Level Evaluation – there are different things happening in each community because each community is so different. Therefore, we needed to work out how to evaluate in a way that suits the local community.WCE staff working in each community have started a process of reflection and learning about how they can work more effectively.
WCE Initiative Evaluation – on top of the work happening in each community, there is work happening that is relevant to some or all communities. As a team we workshopped a process for bringing together all of these stories to make sure that we can all learn together, and importantly, that what we learn is/will be shared with the right people.
Both ‘types’ of evaluation are happening at each evaluation ‘level’.
We are constantly working on developing our evaluation processes further. We would like our collective learning journey to continue, and for our stories to be collected, analysed and shared in a way that will maximise higher education opportunities for people living in remote Indigenous communities across the NT.