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Title: Investigating the evaluation of higher education in Germany : a case study of educational science (Erziehungswissenschaft) in Baden-Württemberg
Author: Harris-Huemmert, Susan F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 7118
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is an empirical qualitative case study of the work of an evaluation commission which was established by the Ministry of Culture, Research and Art in the German state of Baden-Württemberg in 2003 to undertake a cross-sectional examination of the quality of teaching and research in universities and teacher training colleges offering courses in Educational Science (Erziehungswissenschaft). Although much literature on evaluation methods and models exists, little addresses the minutiae of evaluation work through the eyes of those doing it. This study therefore aims to augment this knowledge by examining the attitudes, experiences and difficulties which evaluators face. It contributes to the discourse on evaluation theory and practice by providing suggestions for what might help to improve decision-making processes in this particular environment. Informed by phenomenological theory, this exploratory study also uses decision-making theories as a means of providing knowledge on both individual and organisational issues which can augment our understanding of how expert commissions work: the social, political and cultural mechanisms that are involved, and the techniques that evaluators employ in order to provide institutions with an objective, fair, trustworthy and reliable evaluation report. As external review has become an accepted means of quality assurance, this research constitutes a contribution to the discourse on ways of improving quality assurance in higher education on a broader scale, not just within the context of German higher education. Furthermore, it also offers insight into the discipline of Educational Science itself and the notion of competing research paradigms, which have an impact on the way the discipline perceives itself and is perceived by others. The study is broadly divided into three main sections. The first contextualises the history of higher education evaluation, specifically within the German context. It looks at how the idea of what a university is has changed, especially during the last few decades of the 20th century, and notions of quality within this particular environment. The evaluation is also briefly introduced within the context of Baden-Württemberg. The second section explores the evaluation by examining the documents available in the evalag agency archive in Mannheim, thereby facilitating an understanding of the background to the commission and the processes which the evaluators underwent as work progressed. The third provides insight into what the evaluators themselves thought of the process and is based on interview analysis. The thesis concludes with a brief survey of more recent developments in quality assurance in Germany.
Supervisor: Phillips, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Comparative and international education ; Higher Education ; evaluation ; quality assurance ; educational science