ERIC Number: ED161916
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar-28
Reference Count: 0
Implications of an Alternative Social Reform Paradigm for Educational Evaluation.
DiCostanzo, James L.
A recent review of international literature revealed two basic social-change paradigms, equilibrium and conflict. These define ideological predispositions that influence the manner in which evaluations are conducted. Most current evaluations of educational reform can be classified under the equilibrium paradigm; the federally sponsored compensatory programs (Title I) are a prime example. When framed in the equilibrium or conflict paradigms, educational evaluations differ in purpose, method and scope. The purpose of evaluation, according to the equilibrium paradigm, is to provide decision makers with information necessary to improve program efficiency. The problem with this approach is that the goals of major reforms, including Title I, are ambiguous. With such diffuse goals, those in power can determine what is to be evaluated. The goal of conflict-oriented evaluation is to increase conflict in order to defend or advance underprivileged groups. A basic methodological distinction between the equilibrium and conflict paradigms is that the former is associated with systems analysis, a methodology criticized for encouraging diffuse goals; the latter advocates use of open or biological methods in which education is viewed as both affected by and affecting change in the social and political sectors. Conflict-oriented ideologies reflect the power structure which in turn influences evaluation. Because it sees education as but a subsystem of a larger social context, the conflict orientation is influencing the reconceptualization and redesign of educational evaluation. (Author/CP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (62nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 27-31, 1978)