Critical Interventions Framework II

Year: 2015

Author: Bennett, Anna, Naylor, Ryan, Gore, Jenny

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper outlines the epistemological framework and inclusive evaluation ‘toolkit’ developed as part of the Critical Interventions Framework Part 2 (CIF Part 2). It explores the ‘real dichotomy’ (Hayton and Bengry-Howell, 2015), which operates in the conceptualisation of the ‘effectiveness’ of equity initiatives. This dichotomy is based on a tension between quantitative audit and qualitative practice approaches. Key to this is a difference in what is counted as learning, and what learning means across different groups and contexts. The tools developed for the CIF Part 2 disrupts this (op)positionality, so that both quantitative and qualitative forms of measurement may be captured and, in turn, counted.

Mainstream adaptations of ‘cultural capital’ represent the concept as a form of capital that equity students and groups lack and equity initiatives must construct. This common assumption is based on the premise that acquisition is one-way and is rapid. It also presumes that culture is hermetic, static and fixed. This is a reductionist view, which Bourdieu did not limit the concept to; instead, he qualified that cultural capital is contextual, and inclusion is not about striving to simply impose hegemonic cultural forms onto non-dominant cultures (Bourdieu, 1986, p. 245). Equity initiatives are sites of inter-relating, where both ‘struggle’ and consensus occurs―not simple reproduction―and this is an important but overlooked aspect at ‘the heart of Bourdieu’s work’ (Burke, 2012). In order to enable equitable learning cultures, in addition to the participants in learning and teaching, program structures and evaluation methods must adjust to engage and maintain relevance. Theorising equitable learning cultures in this way enables development of a mutually engaged and inclusive evaluation method, which draws on approaches from ‘both sides’ (both audit and equity cultures), and which contains a multiplicity of valid forms of measurement and evidence. To illustrate this, an outline will be provided of the ‘Initiatives Assessment Tool’ (IAT), which was developed to guide the CIF Part 2 research instruments.