Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

3.2 Impact assessment

Case study is our primary research approach for demonstrating the impact of the AESN . But what is impact assessment? Recent trends in the social sciences literature document a shift towards impact assessment rather than evaluation measures, particularly for organizations which seek to make social impacts upon its participating community. Such thinking has emerged as organizations have considered how to measure their quality, success and/or the significance or importance of the work to a community or a group, as well as how potential lessons might be derived from the activity of measuring performance. In other words, it is more of a value driven exercise than one driven by quantitative, final outcome measures (Stufflebeam, 2007). Marula et al (2003) suggest impact assessment is better described as “… analogous to a reflective process through which social change actors and advocates articulate their change goals and formulate the criteria with which they will evaluate the successes and failures of change efforts. This in turn guides the actors in rethinking their change efforts, influencing whether and how their further efforts should be modified” (p. 58 as cited in Lall, 2011, p. 5).