Evaluation is broadly defined as the merit and worth of an evaluation object. Another definition is “the identification, clarification, and application of defensible criteria to determine an evaluation object’s value in relation to those criteria” (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2004, p. 5). Evaluation in education, on the other hand, has been mainly used to determine deficiencies in student learning, make decisions on efficacy and effectiveness of a program, and provide implications for further research (e.g. Doğan, 1997; Marsh & Willis, 2007). Oliva (2009) contends that evaluation studies help the researchers understand the strengths and weaknesses of the program under investigation. In addition, systematic evaluation studies are useful in terms of improving or maintaining the quality of any education program (Tyler, 1949).
Moreover, program evaluation studies enhance our understanding about whether planned and organized courses/programs/activities/learning opportunities result as they are intended, if not, provide information about how they can be improved (Guba & Lincoln, 1981) In this regard, there is a salient literature in the field of program evaluation and some of them focus on higher education programs (e.g. Erdogan & Tuncer, 2009; Ok, Çilsalar, & Sarıkaya-Erdem, 2014; Tatzl, 2011). In Turkey, there are also studies conducted to evaluate higher education programs. For instance, Kanatlar (1996) evaluated English Teaching Master Program in Bilkent University. He both made use of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, namely, document analysis and interviews, and survey. The findings yielded that objectives of the program was attained and the program was found effective in leading changes in the careers of the graduates. Another study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program at METU based on the students’ perceptions (Ok, Şişman, Erdoğan, & Eret, 2008). 10 students and 7 graduates participated in the study. The participants were asked about various dimensions of the program including the content, the evaluation methods, and the resources. The results indicated that the program was effective regarding those aspects; although some deficiencies were also highlighted. Similarly, Yıldırım-Taştı, Yılmaz, Engin-Demir, and Aksu (2016) evaluated a graduate non-thesis master program based on perceptions of the stakeholders of the program: the students, the graduates, and the instructors. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews and 5 students, 20 graduates, and 5 instructors were interviewed, and complemented with survey developed by the researchers. Findings of the study revealed that the program had many strengths with regards to the content, the teaching methods, the evaluation methods, the instructors, the skills it develops, and the coherence between theoretical and practical knowledge emphasized in the courses. However, there were some parts that found to be need improvement including internship program, course load, student application criteria, and monitoring students after graduation.
In summary, evaluation studies have a pivotal role in determining the merit and the worth of a program or course, particularly when a changes or revises are done. What constitutes the case of the present study is an undergraduate course, Turkish Education System and School Management which is offered to teacher candidates to help them develop the necessary knowledge and skills regarding education systems, Turkish Education System, and school management. The course is planned in a way that a more student-centered teaching approach is utilized in which students are expected to accomplish both individual and group works which includes in-class presentations, seminars, preparing posters, writing reflections, etc. Furthermore, a process oriented evaluation approach will be employed to assess student achievement. It is important to evaluate how such a teaching approach influence student learning. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the planned student-centered instruction in an undergraduate teacher education program in terms of student learning.
Creswell, J.W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. USA: Sage Publications. Doğan, H. (1997). Eğitim programları ve öğretim tasarımı [Curriculum and design of instruction]. Ankara: Ankara University Educational Sciences Publications. Erdogan, M. & Tuncer, G. (2009). Evaluation of a course: education and awareness for sustainability. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 4(2), 133-146. Fitzpatrick, J.L., Sanders, J.R., & Worthen, B.R. (2004). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (3rd ed.). USA: Pearson Education, Inc. Kanatlar, A. Z. (1996). An evaluation of the M.A: TEFL program at Bilkent University. Unpublished master’s thesis. Bilkent: Ankara. Leeuw, F. & Vaessen, J. (2009). Impact evaluations and development: NONIE guidance on impact evaluation. Washington DC: The Network of Networks on Impact Evaluation (c/- Independent Evaluation Group, The World Bank). Last accessed 21 January 2017, at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTOED/Resources/nonie_guidance.pdf. Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Marsh, C.J., & Willis, G. (2007). Curriculum: Alternative approaches, ongoing issues. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Ok, A., Çilsalar, H., & Sarıkaya-Erdem, Y. (2014). An Evaluation of Cappadocia Vocational College Two -year Restoration Curriculum. Uluslararası Eğitim Programları ve Öğretim Çalışmaları Dergisi, 4(8), 1-21. Ok, A., Tan-Sisman, G., Erdogan, M., Eret, E. (2009). Students’ view on the curriculum and instruction graduate degree program: Metu case. In O. Demirel and A. M., Sunbul, P. Terzis (Eds.), Balkan Society for Pedagogy and Education, Further Education in the Balkan Countries, 9(1), 373-383, Turkey, Konya: Egitim Kitabevi Yayinlari. Oliva, P.F. (2009). Developing the curriculum (7th ed.). New York: Pearson Allyn and Bacon. Patton, M. Q. (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE. Tatzl, D. (2011). English-medium masters’ programmes at an Austrian university of applied sciences: attitudes, experiences and challenges. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10(4), 252-270. Tyler, R. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Yıldırım, A. & Şimşek, H. (2008). Sosyal Bilimlerde Nitel Araştırma Yöntemleri. Ankara: Seçkin Yayınevi. Yıldırım-Taştı, Ö.F., Yılmaz, E., Engin-Demir, C., & Aksu, M. (2016, October). Perceptions of students, graduates, and ınstructors on a graduate program. Paper presented in ICCI-EPOK, Antalya, Turkey.
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