Evidence of activity – what did we do?
Activity data demonstrates the focus and scale of our efforts over a given period.
Typically this will include details of:
- what happened, when?
- how much of it took place?
- who took part?
Example: In Term 3, our science and art faculties undertook joint planning workshops (2 x 45 minutes) to identify opportunities for curriculum integration in Stages 4 and 5. Most faculty members participated in these workshops, which were jointly convened by the head teachers after school hours. In Term 4, we trialled a shared 6-lesson unit of learning on soundwaves and acoustics for all students in Year 7.
Evaluating something requires us to go beyond describing what has happened and pushes us towards making judgements ….‘so what?’ and distilling implications …‘what next?’.
Knowing why a program achieves its aims is as important as knowing that it achieves its aims. Analysis of activity data can raise important questions about implementation that might be worth investigating. This includes questions about:
- Adherence to or departure from the original plan - 'Why did it take us so long to get started on the second phase?'
- Uptake and participation - 'Why was demand from students so much higher than expected?'
- Consistency or variation of implementation from one setting to the next - 'Why was the practice adopted widely in these faculties, but only selectively in those?'
In these examples, initial quantitative analysis of activity raises ‘so what’ questions that might be better addressed by targeted qualitative inquiry. Qualitative methods are often used to provide the detailed context required by process evaluation. Follow the link below to read more about the strengths and limitations of different data types.