Evaluation or Research, Aspirations and Impact: A four year story of the VCE

Year: 1992

Author: Northfield, Jeff

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

By the time this paper is presented a project team will have completed a four year study of 15 schools. It is a study of the impact of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) on these schools and the way these schools shaped this post compulsory curriculum reform. This paper will also address the methodological issues associated with a longitudinal study involving a team of people in a very controversial area. After outlining the context and rationale, the way in which the study was conducted will be described. The findings will then be presented in terms of the changing themes that emerged from schools over the four year period. These themes could not have been predicted although the wisdom of hindsight allows some order and explanations to be made. It aspired to be an educational study but many of the issues affecting schools did not have a basis in educational theory and debate. The total experience is one which causes the author to rethink the role of evaluation research and become very wary of future involvement in controversial areas.