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ERIC Number: EJ800170
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1556-8180
Contexts and Constraints: An Analysis of the Evolution of Evaluation in Ireland with Particular Reference to the Education System
O'Hara, Joe; McNamara, Gerry; Boyle, Richard; Sullivan, Connor
Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, v4 n7 p75-83 Jul 2007
This paper is a case study of the emergence of an evaluation culture in the public sector and particularly in education in Ireland over the past three decades. It suggests that the emergence of this culture was strongly influenced by external factors, particularly the European Union (EU), and to a lesser but significant degree, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is posited that without these external influences no culture of evaluation would have emerged. It is further suggested that even after three decades the continuation of systematic evaluation is still probably dependent on external forces, since a belief in or commitment to evaluation as a tool of governance has not taken hold among key policy makers in Ireland. A second point is that, while evaluation practice in Ireland was at first largely concentrated around EU funded projects and economic transfers, in more recent times evaluation has migrated to programmes and policies. In particular, it has become an element of the quality assurance processes institutionalised as part of the "reform agenda" of the public service. Finally, the paper makes the point that an evaluation culture in a particular country--in this case, Ireland, but the same applies elsewhere--is significantly contextualised and influenced by the constraints of existing ideologies, traditions, practices and relationships between different interest groups. Thus, in Ireland, in line with the corporatist and partnership-driven approaches to economic policy and industrial relations which have been dominant in the past two decades, the form of evaluation which has emerged is consensual, collaborative and negotiated.
Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University. 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5237. Tel: 269-387-5895; Fax: 269-387-5923; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland