Searle, M. (2020). Enhancing educational decision-making: arts-informed inquiry as a feature of collaborative evaluations. In B. Andrews (Ed.) Perspectives on Arts Education Research in Canada, Vol. II (pp. 76-96). Brill Sense.

Collaborative scholarship in assessment, evaluation, and knowledge mobilization

Searle, M. (2020). Enhancing educational decision-making: arts-informed inquiry as a feature of collaborative evaluations. In B. Andrews (Ed.) Perspectives on Arts Education Research in Canada, Vol. II (pp. 76-96). Brill Sense.

Abstract: Educators experiment with new initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning. Ideally, these initiatives are grounded in educational research, and their implementation and impact are evaluated. Interweaving arts-informed inquiry into program evaluation provides an opportunity to build on to existing systematic processes while focusing on two purposes of evaluation: learning and improvement. When arts-informed inquiry is part of an ongoing process of collaborative evaluation, interesting and unexpected learning and engagement can happen. The results of this learning and engagement include stronger relationships within and beyond organizations, and the development of individual and organizational capacity for evaluative thinking. Importantly, arts-informed inquiry leads to enhanced usefulness of evaluation processes in educational decision-making. This chapter is an exploration of the value of arts-informed inquiry in educational program evaluation. It aims to provoke a discussion of the purpose, value, and challenges of educational program evaluations that incorporate artistry. First, a brief historical overview of the field of evaluation situates the use of collaborative approaches. These approaches use a range of methodologies and provide processes for interweaving artistic forms of data. Different perspectives of arts and evaluation are then discussed, following by a look at three educational program evaluations that included different types of arts-informed inquiry. The principles of arts-informed inquiry provide a framework for examining the value of arts-informed processes and products in educational evaluations. Benefits of infusing arts-informed inquiry in program evaluation are discussed and suggestions for future research are identified.

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