The questions that really matter: how it all started
Across Australia there are many community and school-based organisations who do a great job of keeping young people connected to learning.
Yet it’s often difficult for these organisations to gather evidence about the real work they do because of the way outcomes are traditionally measured.
This is why the Building Futures team is in the process of developing a shared measurement framework to re-orient current thinking on which evaluation data gets measured and reported.
In the early stages of the project, the research team led by Professor Johanna Wyn, Director of the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne and Associate Professor Gavan McCarthy, worked closely with Ebeny Wood (Beacon Foundation) and Richard O’Donovan (Hands on Learning) to identify what was missing from their evidence base and how well their evidence fits with their organisational goals.
During this process Richard and Ebeny pushed back against many traditional measurement assumptions. Statistics about individual outcomes such as school attendance, academic performance, school completion and entry to the workforce didn’t provide the information their programs needed to improve their practice.
Richard and Ebeny’s early challenges made it clear to Johanna and the team that concentrating on relationships that create ‘enabling spaces’ for young people was the way forward.
The Building Futures team are creating a framework (and free online tool) that recognises relationships and learning environments as essential in contributing to a young person’s capacity to have a meaningful learning experience.
Our recently released position paper, Enabling Spaces for Learning, explores the new framework and outlines how we aim to re-orient current thinking on what should be measured and which evaluation data should be collected, in order to create more sustainable programs and produce better learning outcomes for young people.
Read the position paper here: http://web.education.unimelb.edu.au/yrc/linked_documents/BFYA_position_paper.pdf