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Governing by evaluation in higher education in Sweden

Research project What is the relation between evaluation and governing, i.e. how governing is 'done' through evaluation, and highlight consequences of the reform in higher education practice and policy?

The project evaluates the recent reform of quality evaluations in higher education, and examines the ways in which it may be understood as governing education. The project will develop the theoretical understanding of evaluation and also contribute to how to research educational evaluation as a contemporary societal phenomenon and practice.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2012-01-01 2019-12-31

Funding

Vetenskapsrådet

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research subject

Pedagogy

Project description

The project evaluates the recent reform of quality evaluations in higher education, and examines the ways in which it may be understood as governing education. It aims at studying: a) the policy context, intentions and aims of the reform; b) the quality evaluation practice; and c) the consequences of the reform and quality evaluations in higher education policy and practise. An explanation-oriented evaluation approach adapted for national settings is applied drawing on interdisciplinary thinking about governing and policy enactment. Interviews with key national and local actors and document analysis of education and evaluation policy and notions of quality in higher education will be done. Evaluators and evaluated will be interviewed and observed during visits at the universities, and evaluation reports and local plans analysed to assess consequences of the quality evaluations. The project will significantly advance our knowledge of the relation between evaluation and governing, i.e. how governing is 'done' through evaluation, and highlight consequences of the reform in higher education practice and policy. The project will develop the theoretical understanding of evaluation and also contribute to how to research educational evaluation as a contemporary societal phenomenon and practice.