What is the DIY Evaluation Guide?

The DIY Evaluation Guide is an accessible resource for teachers which introduces the key principles of educational evaluation and provides guidance on how to conduct small-scale evaluations in schools.

The guide explains the importance of “Do It Yourself” evaluation. It outlines a range of options open to teachers who want to improve the way they evaluate new interventions or strategies and provides practical advice on designing and carrying out evaluations.

Why is DIY Evaluation Useful?

DIY evaluation is useful for three reasons:

  • It indicates whether or not an intervention is effective. Without evaluation, it is impossible to know whether an intervention is having a positive impact on learning. It can be tempting to implement plausible-sounding strategies which, in reality, don’t benefit students
  • Evaluation saves teachers time. It is often easier to start doing something new than it is to stop doing something which has been running for a number of years. The evaluation strategies in this guide show how data can be used to obtain an estimate of the impact of a particular intervention. Teachers can then put their time and effort into the most effective things and avoid pursuing approaches that do not work
  • Evaluation guides future action. By investing a little time in carefully recording what is being done and by measuring its outcome, it is easy to identify improvements for the future.

How should the DIY evaluation Guide be used? 

It is important to make a distinction between DIY evaluation, which can be undertaken by teachers and take place in a single school or class, and other forms of evaluation such as randomised controlled trials, which will usually take place across large groups of schools and be led by full-time researchers.[1] Both forms of evaluation are useful, but they serve different purposes.

Large-scale evaluations provide the most robust estimate of an intervention’s average effectiveness. This kind of evidence can inform teachers’ decision-making by highlighting the average experience of others and by picking out the common features which appear to lead to the highest impact. The Teaching & Learning Toolkit is measured using average impact across hundreds of studies. 

However, the average effect of an approach will not always match its impact in a given school. An approach may be more effective in some contexts than in others. DIY evaluation is essential in order to determine whether or not an intervention is having the impact that was hoped for.

A useful comparison might be made with health. In the healthcare sector, large-scale trials are used to determine whether or not drugs should be licensed and to provide doctors with the information they require to make prescriptions. Then, the doctor (and patient) will determine whether or not the treatment is having the desired effect, and if it isn’t, they will adjust the treatment or try another approach.

Getting started with the Guide

There are two ways to use the DIY Guide. 

  1. You can simply read the different pages, using the information to help you inform your understanding of evaluation. 
  2. Or you can use the box on the right to conduct your own DIY Evaluation, by entering your details and keeping track of your progress.  Each time you write notes or respond to questions or prompts, the guide will save your progress and email you a unique link. You can return to your DIY Evaluation at any time by following that link. At the end of the process, a PDF of your evaluation will be generated.

We anticipate that users will want to read through the guide in the first instance to get a taste of what is involved, before providing details and running a trial themselves. A number of case studies of teachers who have used the guide are provided to help those who are considering embarking on a DIY Evaluation. Throughout, there are links to further content which provide depth and detail to some of the concepts outlined in the main body of the guide. 

[1] For example, the EEF is funding a number of large-scale trials that you can read about here: http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects.


What is DIY Evaluation?

You can use this guide as interactive content to inform your evaluation activities in school. Alternatively, if you want to be guided through the DIY Evaluation process and be emailed with an evaluation plan at the end in PDF format, enter your details on the right hand side. You will be emailed a unique link each time you save your progress.

show hint help_outline