Written by Peter Keith, Education Management Consultant, for Croydon Consulting Ltd.
The following good practice ‘techniques and approaches’ have been developed by Croydon Consulting for PTEs to use before and during a NZQA External Evaluation and Review.
- Ensure all stakeholders involved in the Evaluation have a ‘shared vision’ and ‘common understanding’ of the organisation’s purpose, strategic direction and strategic plan.
- Take a positive, proactive approach and ‘front up’ to any serious issues before the External Evaluation takes place, by implementing a documented Improvement Plan or remedial action.
- Adopt a strengths-based approach and ensure that the organisation’s special character, distinctive contribution and associated strengths are recognised and valued.
- Be open and honest, act in ‘good faith’ and ensure that your comments are focused and considered, and are consistent with the values, mission and strategic direction of the organisation.
- Adopt an evidence-based and outcomes-focused approach – support the PTEs key achievements and outcomes with valid, reliable, documented evidence and detailed examples.
- Be aware that the External Evaluation and resulting Statements of confidence, are based on NZQA’s inquiry into only a small number of ‘ targeted sample activities’ (called Focus areas) within the PTE – so ensure that the sample Focus areas selected for the Evaluation are ‘appropriate’ and ‘representative’ of the organisation’s activities.
- Challenge any poor-quality evaluation practice by NZQA (including any unnecessary changes to the Evaluation Scope or any ‘surprises’ in the draft Report); and dispute any Future Actions/Recommendations in the Report that you consider to be impractical or unsustainable.
- Treat the Evaluators professionally, respectfully and courteously during the External Evaluation (and expect the same treatment in return), especially when clarifying or questioning NZQA’s evaluation practice/ methods or any findings in the Evaluation Report.
- Be prepared to: question NZQA on their use of any invalid evidence, challenge any judgements based on personal opinion instead of the evaluation criteria, and contest any NZQA ‘Performance/Capability Ratings’ in the draft Report that are not supported by verifiable evidence, sound reasoning and common sense.
- Ensure that NZQA’s Report adopts a balanced, strategically focused, holistic approach, and that NZQA’s ‘Statements of confidence/ Key reasons’ are logical, consistent and reflect the PTE’s context, special character and purpose.
- Treat the Evaluation as an independent, fresh perspective, and an opportunity to learn and inform/focus the organisation’s own Self Assessment and planning for continuous improvement.