National Evaluation of Diplomas: Cohort 2 - The Second Year

Tami McCrone, Sarah Lynch, Gill Haynes, Clare Southcott, Kelly Kettlewell

01 September 2011

The purpose of the national evaluation is to provide policy makers and practitioners with systematic and robust evidence which will enable them to make informed judgements about the outcomes of the Diplomas for different stakeholders and to make improvements to design and delivery, if appropriate.

The overall research design for the evaluation provides a complementary mixed-method approach to address the complex range of issues and aims associated with the implementation of the Diplomas. The study has three main strands: surveys of a range of stakeholders (including consortium leads, learners, teaching staff, parents, employers and Higher Education Institutions; a longitudinal programme of qualitative case studies; and statistical analysis of external datasets.

The delivery and implementation of the second five Diploma subjects (introduced in September 2009) in their second year is the focus of this report. The case- study interviews and learner surveys were conducted in the spring of 2011. Overall, although both learners and practitioners were positive about their Diploma experiences, there was recognition by senior leaders in particular that the Diploma was in need of adjustment in order for it to establish its place in the current educational landscape.

The national evaluation of diplomas

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