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Case 7

Title: Evaluation of the Stronger, Smarter Realities program.

This case is about a participatory evaluation of the Australian “Stronger Smarter Leadership Program” (SSLP). SSLP is a professional development program for school principals and other leaders, delivered by the Stronger Smarter Institute (formerly Indigenous Education Leadership Institute (IELI)) of the University of Queensland, Australia. The SSLP was developed to promote educational excellence amongst Indigenous children in Australia, based on the premise that this can be achieved by providing a supportive educational environment, by providing excellent teachers and by having high expectations of the students themselves.

The participatory evaluation was guided by two key questions: i) To what extent has the SSR project contributed to excellence in Indigenous education in participating schools? And ii) to what extent did the SSR project influence the overall Indigenous education agenda? The evaluation used the “Participatory Outcomes Reporting Technique” (PORT). This is a mixed method approach that involved key stakeholders in a number of process steps. Firstly, a design workshop was held where the theory of change was clarified and evaluation questions developed, later an ‘outcome panel’ was convened with Indigenous Elders who examined the data and made judgments as to the extent to which the outcomes had been achieved. The process culminated in an evaluation summit workshop that saw key stakeholders and staff deliberating over data and creating the recommendations. Field work included a ‘data trawl’, a total of over 50 semi-structured interviews incorporating the Most Significant Change technique, 3 case studies from Indigenous communities and quantitative data on student outcomes from 10 schools. While the quantitative data was limited in scope, the evaluation was noteworthy as it managed to capture some of the less tangible outcomes concerning ‘breakthrough learning’ and raised expectations for Indigenous children. The program itself has been very successful and is being scaled-up and delivered on a national scale. This evaluation has been highly influential as evidenced by all the recommendations been successfully implemented, and one Philanthropic funder stating that the evaluation was well-balanced and gave them confidence to provide further funding for the program.

Case owner/ presenter(s): Jess Dart and the Stronger Smarter Institute
Country of case study: Australia
Methodological focus: participatory outcomes reporting technique (theory of change, data trawl, most significant change, indigenous leader expert panel)

Documentation: Evaluation of the Stronger, Smarter Realities program

 

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