Improving access in STEM subjects

Villiers Park Educational Trust

Back to Activities with learners

Evaluating your activities

Do your systematically evaluate your activities with learners so that quality is maintained and they improve year on year?

Evaluations can feel like a time consuming extra or they may be done but then lie unused.

Always have a debrief session at the end of the activity, even if it is only ten minutes, during which all those involved say how they think it went.

Suggestions about collecting data:

  • Build it into your systems and routines
  • Make sure evaluations are completed as part of the activity
  • Keep them simple and age-appropriate
  • Make sure you collect some quantitative and some qualitative feedback
  • Keep the questions aimed at collecting quantitative data consistent so you can make comparisons between activities and from year to year
  • Try keeping writing to a minimum, particularly for younger participants
  • Consider using a voting button system for quick effective collection of quantitative feedback
  • Consider using a ‘smiley chart’ if you are trying to get feedback from young children
  • Could you run a ‘video booth’?

Suggestions about using feedback data:

  • Process the evaluation data immediately – do not consider the activity complete until that is done
  • Get the quantitative data into a spreadsheet as quickly as possible – this is easier if you use a voting button system
  • Invest time and resources into getting the qualitative information into electronic format, for example word processing feedback comments
  • Set yourself targets based on the quantitative data
  • Do not ignore the qualitative feedback – it can often be more useful

What we do at Villiers Park

We build an evaluation session into each course. If the course is at Villiers Park, the evaluation session is run by a Course Manager. It is always explained that the feedback will be used to make what we do better.

We use a voting button system to collect quantitative data. We always have four possible responses. We also ask for written comments, which is appropriate as we work with more able young people who are 14 or older.

For our five-day residential courses, the voting button questions are as follows with the four responses being Excellent, Good, Satisfactory and Poor.

  • How much do you think attending this Villiers Park course has increased your:

    • Self-confidence

    • Enthusiasm for learning

    • Passion for this subject

    • Understanding what university might be like

    • Motivation

    • Communication skills

    • Research skills

    • Ability to work in a team

  • Overall, how do you rate the quality of this course?