Illuminative Evaluation

To an English teacher, illuminative may simply be an adjective. To a historian of ideas, this adjective carries connotations of enlightenment. To evaluators, however, it has a more specific denotation: “Evaluation as Illumination: A New Approach to the Study of Educational Innovations,” a paper written at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, by a lecturer (Malcolm Parlett) and one of his doctoral students (David Hamilton). The article took 18 months to prepare. Drafts were sent out for comment and (such was the power of the emergent democracy of the photocopier) bootleg copies circulated widely. For this reason, scientific journals eventually declined to publish it.

“Evaluation as Illumination” originally appeared in mimeo form, in 1972, as an occasional paper of the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Edinburgh. ...

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