How will I measure impact?
17 January 2011
This month I am mostly thinking about impact.
Impact is a buzz word for charities at present and at ASE we haven’t really taken advantage of a good look at the changes we have made over the years. This came to mind when one of my co-authors on the “history of ASE” book that is currently being written asked me if there was any documentation that would indicate which changes in science education over the past fifty years resulted from ASE activity alone.
The answer to the question is, of course, impossible to give. ASE has worked in many partnerships over the years which have resulted in change and the development of future leaders of the profession – which is a significant role that we have played – is undocumented except by some of the snippets which those individuals have submitted and which appear on this website.
Our constitution as a charity means that there is a network of others with whom we have discussions about impact – this is very useful as we have many concerns in common alongside our considerable differences. One of the features that we share with our fellows in the “Third Sector” is that we are all attempting to change society in one way or another. Our colleagues may do that by helping homeless people or running projects abroad – we aim to do our bit by improving science education. So that helps in articulating our response to the “impact” question, as we look at the changes to society for which ASE has been responsible.
So, how will I measure impact, and report back on achievements in 2011? Incidentally, I am looking forward already to another exciting Annual Conference in Liverpool in January 2012. Reading 2011 will be tricky to top but I’m sure that my personal alma mater will rise to the challenge.
Obviously I will look at the number of members, and the subdivisions of these. That’s relatively easy. The deeply committed members who have chosen to become Chartered Science Teachers will also be part of the assessment. But we touch science educators in many more ways than by membership, and as a charity we have to confer public benefit so we must attempt to have influence beyond our membership. That influence is via this and other websites that we are responsible for, so I’ll be counting visitors and page viewers. I’ll also attempt to quantify our influence through responses to consultations, input to science education programmes and projects and so on. It will be interesting to look at all of the meetings that I go to and explicitly ask the question “in which ways is my appearance here materially improving the teaching and learning of science”. I might find that I let some of them go in future!
So, the question is – how would you measure ASE’s impact on science education? I’ll be very interested to hear your views. As we move into the new governance structure and in the current economic climate it is more important than ever that we make sure that our efforts are driven towards our vital purpose.
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