The overall aim of this research study is to consider the development of a best practice framework for the longitudinal tracking of individual progression in the Irish Adult Educational Guidance Initiative (AEGI). A specific focus of the study is the analysis of the contribution of the client to the design of a quality longitudinal tracking system in adult guidance practice. In attempting to answer the main research question of how progression is measured in the current longitudinal tracking system in the AEGI the study examines a number of specific issues. These issues relate to definitions, rationale and methodologies for measuring outcomes within the context of the three OECD public policy goals of lifelong learning, labour market and social equity. The study explores claims that current methods using positivistic approaches to measure outcomes in guidance are inadequate. A critical constructivist approach was adopted to examine the discourse of three of the key stakeholders involved, the client, practitioner and policy-maker. A bottom-up case study methodology contextualises and explains the subjective experiences of a number of clients over a longitudinal time-frame. The mapping of the various discourse positions finds both convergence and divergence on the topic of measuring long-term progression in adult guidance. The findings show that outcome evaluation is a complex and contested issue. The current emphasis of policy to achieve hard, tangible outcomes obviates the measurement of a broad range of softer, intangible outcomes that capture the personal progression of clients. This research study can contribute to a gap in knowledge in Irish guidance policy and practice through its consideration of the client’s contribution to the design of a quality longitudinal tracking system in adult guidance. The research concludes with a number of recommendations in relation to outcome evaluation and a call for methodological pluralism in evidence-based research in the field.
|Publication status||Submitted - 2009|