This page describes the work of the (as yet to be appointed) external evaluators. Their task is to oversee the activities of the project at a high level, that is, they are there to ensure we do what we set out to do. Their opinion is independent of the EC as the funding body for the project and they should set S-TEAM in the context of other projects and of science education more generally. It is important that they have an international perspective and a good knowledge of educational policy issues and of inquiry based science education.
The evaluators are:
1) Professor Rick Duschl has recently joined the College of Education faculty of Penn State University as the Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education. His research efforts focus on advancing teacher education programs and on the design of learning environments that seek and promote collaborations among mathematics, science, technology and engineering education.
He has published numerous articles, book chapters, and books. His latest books include Teaching scientific inquiry: Recommendations for research and implementation (SensePublishers) and Taking Science to School: Science Learning and Teaching Grades K-8 (National Academy Press).
2) Michela Mayer, Ph. D. in Scientific Education Research and a degree in Physics, was for 20 years responsible for research in the Italian National Institute for the Evaluation of the Educational System (INVALSI, former name CEDE); she is a recognized national and international expert in the fields of Environmental Education, Scientific Education and Education for Sustainable Development with strong experience in evaluative research, comparative research, action research.
Professional activities and responsibilities in International projects:
• responsible for the External Evaluation of the Comenius 3 SUPPORT project, Funded by European Union, LLL programme (2007-2010);
• member of the UNECE working group for the development of indicators for the UNECE strategy on ESD (2006-2008);
• responsible for the APCEIU (Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding), UNESCO, Seoul, Korea, of the planning and implementation of an ESD workshop for teachers and administrators, 1-15 Ottobre 2007
• member of the UNESCO-IUCN Asia-Pacific expert team for the production of Guidelines for the Development of national ESD Indicators (2006-2007);
• member of the SEG, Science Expert Group, for PISA-OCSE 2006 students assessment programme (2003-2006);
• responsible, with Finn Mogensen (DK), for the ENSI-SEED comparative study on 'Quality criteria for Eco-schools', involving 13 European and not European countries (2003-2005) and published in 2005;
• author with Soren Breiting and Finn Mogensen, of the Quality criteria for ESD Schools proposal, document prepared for the ENSI and SEED networks, and presented in an European Conference at Esbjerg in Denmark on May 2005, and translated in 17 languages;
• responsible for the External Evaluation of the WWF 'Mediterranean Forest' project, Funded by European Union, DG XXI; 1996-97
• European Union consultant, Programme on Young people and Social disadvantage, Uruguay, 1995.
• UNDP consultant, PRODERE programme, Evaluation of educational programmes in Guatemala, 1992;
I'm very honoured of your invitation and I will be very happy to have the
possibility to participate in your project as external evaluator.
However, reflecting on my experience as external evaluator, I'm not sure
that what I can offer is what you are looking for. I read carefully the
S-Team work plan and I was impressed by the number of different qualified
participants, and by the different work packages and deliverables. The
project is very complex and demanding, and as project manager you have the
responsibility of the fulfilment of the work plan, and of the monitoring of
the time schedule and of the deliverables, while the different partners have
the responsibility of the internal evaluation of the work packages they are
involved in. So my question is: what added value you look for from the
external evaluation? In my experience this is a crucial question, and I need
to have clear the different roles and different expectations.
Two common meetings and the examination of the deliverables and meetings
minutes will assure you an external, and for what is in my possibility
competent, point of view and comments on the general results of your
programme, but if you want something more - the definition of internal
quality indicators or criteria - some more time has to be foreseen for
In any case, the external evaluation of this 3-years project asks for a
minimum of 10 to 20 working days. The number of external evaluators - 1, 2
or 3 - will not change too much this estimation, because the saving of time
due to the subdivision of work will be partially reduced by the need for the
evaluators to find an initial agreement on the evaluation plan and a final
agreement for the reports.
Therefore, I send you my CV and I ask you if you can kindly send me some
further information about your expectations: if you look for an external
evaluation plan (which implies extra data collection) or for an external
'reading' of your work and your results; who else has been asked to
participate in the external evaluation, and if, besides travel and
subsistence expenses during the meetings, you plan to compensate the
external evaluators working days. This latter question is not the most
important but of course the answer will affect the number of days I could
dedicate to this job, according to my time schedule.
I really congratulate with you and your partners for the richness of this
project and I hope to receive a further communication in a short time.
Thanks for your prompt and generous response to our invitation. We are very pleased that you will be able to work with us and am cc'ing this reply to Rick Duschl for information.
As regards the precise nature of the evaluation, our main intention is that we have an expert 'reading' or overview of our project, rather than a data-driven evaluation. We have already provided for internal evaluation through work package 9, which is led by Prof.Tina Seidel of the Freidrich Schiller University, Jena. WP9 will develop indicators and instruments so that all the project activities can demonstrate their effectiveness numerically. We also expect to have a technical review carried out in mid-project by EC-appointed evaluators. Finally, we have a reference group of stakeholder representatives (e.g. from teacher organisations, policymakers etc) who will review some of our activities and deliverables to ensure 'user-friendly' results.
Your role as external evaluator(s) will therefore be to give us an informed perspective on the overall direction of the project and its impact on science education in general and science teacher education in particular. You would have access to all project materials and documents, and we would anticipate two meetings over the course of the project, which would probably be combined with other project events in order to give you the opportunity of meeting project partners and stakeholders. We anticipate that you would produce a brief report around M15 (= July 2010) in order to prepare us for the technical review, and another in M33 (Jan 2012) prior to the final report.
Assuming that Rick can participate, we wold suggest that he takes responsibility for the technical aspects of "Inquiry based Science Teaching" whilst your role focuses on the performance of the project in reaching its target audience(s) and in communicating its messages.
We will be able to cover the cost of direct working days on the project and of all travel and accommodation, subject to discussions of budget limits etc.