Sussex Learning Network are engaging in Research and Evaluation of SLN:COP supported activities, led by our Research and Evaluation managers Tamsin Hinton-Smith and Emily Danvers. A key aspect of this approach is about working collaboratively with partners across the region to develop new understandings of, and innovative practice in, widening participation and outreach.

The aims of the SLN:COP Research and Evaluation framework are to assess the impact of individual activities and the programme as a whole on NCOP learners’:

  • Knowledge (feeling better informed about higher education including options, costs, experiences)
  • Self-confidence (feeling more positive about themselves and their educational futures)
  • Aspiration to go to higher education (their decision or the likelihood of them making that decision and the impact of the specific initiative/activity)
  • Ability to pursue choices (enhanced practical and personal resources to negotiate their educational futures, including overcoming challenges)

We will do this by:

  • Producing a series of SLN:COP evaluation forms that collate qualitative and quantitative measures of activities on learners’ knowledge, self-confidence, aspiration and ability to pursue choices.
  • Engaging in additional research activity (including interviews and focus groups with learners, parents and practitioners and the use of learner and project case studies) that considers in more depth the purpose, assumptions, value and success of SLN:COP activity.
  • Supportimg partners to develop skills and engage in additional high-quality research and evaluation via CPD events and the creation of a Research & Evaluation Toolkit with guidance and tips on evaluating outreach, conducting focus groups and interviews and desiging surveys.

Together these strands will allow us to critically analyse SLN-COP funded work and make recommendations for future directions in widening participation and outreach.

We would love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments about our research including how this might relate to experience and insights relating to your own work. Please get in touch with one of our Research & Evaluation Managers, Tamsin or Emily.