About the project

Learn more about the Evaluation Hub.

Compilation of photos of team work

The Evaluation Hub project

The Evaluation Hub was created to address the challenge of embedding a culture of continuous learning and improvement across the Ministry of Education. Our aim is to help build Evaluative Thinking into our day-to-day work.

Evaluative Thinking is about making a habit of using good evidence to make sound judgements. It can be a method of approaching a course of action, such as a programme, briefing, or even a meeting, in a way that focuses on achieving the agreed-upon outcomes.

Evaluation and Evaluative Thinking helps us to be more intentional about our actions and to know whether we have arrived at our desired destination. It is more than collecting and collating data, it is a disciplined approach to inquiry and reflective practice which helps us to use good evidence to make sound judgements.

How the Evaluation Hub was developed

The establishment of the Evaluation Hub was a cross-Ministry project led by the Ministry's evaluation team. The project used a human-centred design methodology supported by Creative HQ.

We brought together around 30 Ministry and teaching staff for an intensive boot camp on how to work in a more evaluative and user-focused way, and how to identify individual problem definitions and elements of a solution. 

We also held interviews with people from across the education sector, who gave the following feedback on what they wanted to do:

  • create a culture where Evaluative Thinking and evaluation are valued and prioritised
  • embed Evaluative Thinking and evaluation in our core business
  • continuously ask whether we are making a difference
  • evaluate quickly, act early and have the courage to stop doing something if it isn't working. 

Our intention

The solution we developed is made of many parts that provide the optimal conditions for change. These include:

  • a shared vision and purpose for the work and change we are engaged in
  • an organisational culture underpinned by transparency, openness, and trust
  • strong leadership that works across teams to collectively achieve strategic priorities
  • a culture of trust that works collaboratively to achieve common and clearly understood goals
  • clear protocols and ways of working for planning and implementation.

Before we turn our attention to the wider sector, we chose to focus on 'sorting ourselves out first'. In particular, we chose to focus on building Evaluative Thinking in the Ministry. We identified that this was not only an important capability for the Ministry in itself, but an important precursor to growing the evaluation system.

Our theory of action was that if we improve our own capabilities and practices in Evaluative Thinking, then we would be better able to understand the impact/effect of our work and its relationship to improving student outcomes, and subsequently build a culture of continuous improvement.

Current activity

We are continuing to support Ministry of Education staff across the regional and national offices on the use of the tools and resources in the Evaluation Hub, and we hold regular monthly discussions for Ministry staff who are interested in evaluation. We share useful evaluation tools and staff who attend get a chance to discuss their evaluation needs and experiences.

If you are a Ministry employee and want to become an Evaluation Champion, join our monthly discussions, or if you want to learn more about the tools and resources on this website, contact info.evaluationhub@education.govt.nz.