3. The Evaluation Project
At the planning phase of the second stage Adult Literacies Pathfinders, Learning Connections were keen to ensure that the maximum benefit could be derived from the lessons learned from these pilot projects. Incorporated into the project plan, was a 'parallel' evaluation project. The aim of this project was to work with the eight Pathfinders to develop a framework which could be developed to assess both the progress and overall impact of each of the projects. This would also enable the projects to regularly review their projects and contribute to their 'continuous improvement'.
This process would be in addition to, and not a substitute for the formal independent evaluation which would be carried out at the conclusion of the projects in March 2006.
Communities Scotland Learning Connections invited proposals from consultants to carry out this Evaluation Project and in February 2004, Organisational Development Support Ltd ( ODS) was commissioned to undertake this.
The ODS proposal set out a programme of activities which would form the basis of the Evaluation Project.
3.1 The evaluation framework: the framework document would set out the principles of the evaluation process, the criteria that would be used to evaluate the Pathfinders and the mechanisms which would be used to achieve this.
3.2 Evaluation 'toolkit': the 'toolkit' would be a series of practical guides which could be used to carry out different aspects of project evaluation.
3.3 Development workshops: the project would include a programme of development workshops which would enable the Pathfinders to meet regularly and share experience of project development, implementation and evaluation.
3.4 Consultancy support: the Pathfinders would be offered one to one support with the implementation of the evaluation project and process.
3.5 Project web site: a web site would be developed which would contain the Evaluation Framework and Toolkit, would provide information on development workshops and on which individual project evaluation reports could be posted.
3.6 Dissemination: the final element of the Evaluation Project would be the organisation of an event at which the lessons of the Pathfinders on nearing their conclusion could be disseminated to a wider audience.
The Evaluation Project would be informed and supported by a project steering group, comprising practioners, experts in the Literacies field and the Learning Connections Project Managers.
The evaluation project would run in parallel with the Pathfinders between April 2004 and March 2006.