Evaluation is essential to understanding the impact of respectful relationships education at your school and should be considered throughout planning, implementation and reviewing.
In this step, you will:
- Build yours and your school’s understanding of the essential elements of evaluation and the ethics of conducting evaluations.
- Ensure that the respectful relationships education implementation team recognise the importance of integrating evaluation and monitoring throughout the annual cycle of implementation.
- Use data from evaluation tools used in earlier steps to assess progress in your school.
Evaluation data can provide valuable information on how your approach is benefiting different members of your school community, inform decisions on how to improve your approach and identify your successes. Any school-based primary prevention strategy should be continually reviewed and updated to ensure it reflects the needs and practices of young people, staff and the wider school community.
Elements for evaluation
There are a number of essential elements to consider in evaluating your approach to respectful relationships education. Within your school there are already a range of tools that can support you to evaluate your action. This includes looking at changing data trends in student attendance, feedback through staff, student and parent opinion surveys, interviews and focus groups.
How can you collect data?
A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods generally works well for evaluating respectful relationships education. Methods can include staff and student surveys, audits, interviews, focus groups, and collecting school data such as staffing and leadership demographics. It is important to consider inclusivity and accessibility in data collection tools and processes, to manage barriers to participation.
Evaluation indicators for respectful relationships education in schools can include:
- Availability and application of policies relating to harassment, violence and bullying.
- Gender and other demographic makeup of leadership teams.
- Staff confidence in teaching respectful relationships.
- Staff and student attitudes towards gender and gender equality, such as opinions about what careers women and men can pursue, or what activities girls and boys can engage in.
- Participation of male family members in school activities.
Use pre-test and post-test design
Using the same data collection tool at the beginning and end of each annual cycle allows you to compare results over time. By using the same question and/or data gathering method, you can track your progress which is important for monitoring both student outcomes and shifts in staff perceptions and experiences in their workplace.
Setting achievement milestones and measures
As part of your action planning process, it is important that Achievement Milestones (changes in practices or behaviours you are trying to achieve) and Measures (data or information collect to measure this change) are determined so that you can the evaluate and review whether there have been positive changes as a result of your engagement in Respectful Relationships Education.
Remember cultural change takes time and cannot always be measured in spaces of time. This is why it is important to monitor and observe all changes across the school using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
For example, achievement milestones:
- Increase in staff confidence to deliver teaching and learning materials.
- Measure: Survey of staff pre and post professional development (quantitative method).
Use findings and share feedback with your school community
Evaluation is at its best when it’s a participatory process and sharing findings can be a useful tool for engaging everyone, making them feel heard and included in the process. This is particularly important for those students, staff, families and other community members asked to share in surveys. Sharing findings with them builds awareness of the whole-of-school approach and assures participants that their contribution is taken seriously, and reinforces that school leaders are committed to action.
Using the same data collection tools at the beginning and end of each annual cycle allows you to compare results over time. The Evaluation Tools are be used to help you track your school’s progress from Step 3: Exploring your current practice right through the implementation cycle.
The right evaluation data informs planning and your implementation, giving you a sense of where your school is starting from, and where you might be heading.
The following tools have been developed to provide you with practice tools to inform the planning and ongoing improvement of relationship relationships education in your school.
- School baseline assessment
- Student baseline assessment
- Student knowledge, skills and attitudes survey Grade 1 and 2
- Student knowledge, skills and attitudes survey Year 8 and 9
If adapting or using these tools in Step 3: Exploring current practice, it is crucial that you revisit this data and use the same data methodology in later evaluation to ensure you can include behaviour change measures.