CRECS is currently working, in partnership with Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the school board of Nunavik on an evaluation of the Kativik Teacher Education program. Teacher education is gaining increasing attention in the north where more than half the population is under 25 years of age and the quality of education, teacher recruitment and retention have been the focus of a recent review by the Quebec Ombudsman (2018). Various factors complicate Inuit youth’s journey through the education system at every turn which is reflected in school graduate rates much lower than the Canadian average.
Since January 2018, CRECS Director Ruth Kane and Senior CRECS Researcher Katherine Moreau have led a team of CRECS Graduate Research Assistants, Sarah Heath, Lindsey Kirby-McGregor and Alisha Nash, in this collaboration. Both Kativik Ilisarniliriniq and CRECS agreed early on to take a participatory evaluation approach that would involve key stakeholders from Kativik Ilisarniliriniq in the evaluation design, data collection, analyses, and implementation, as well as the dissemination of evaluation findings. Through a Practical Participatory Evaluation (P-PE) approach, the insights of the stakeholders drive the focus of inquiry, making it more meaningful and useful. By actively participating in the evaluation, the stakeholders also build their own evaluation skills, which will be beneficial and transferable to other projects. Ultimately, such involvement will help the stakeholders infuse evaluation thinking into their respective community activities, facilitate a shared understanding of the evaluation, create additional opportunities for networking, and thus, support and reinforce the overall knowledge mobilization goals.
Four interactive workshops were held in Dorval and Kuujjuaq with 21 School Board staff, Teacher Trainers and University partners in order to develop a logic model and evaluation matrix for the Kativik Teacher Education program. By using a P-PE approach, the workshops were designed and carried out to prioritize the key stakeholders’ perspectives about the program and about how to evaluate the program. In the logic model workshops, stakeholders were asked to describe the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes associated with the Kativik Teacher Education program, which were pulled together to create a visual mode of the program. Similarly, in the evaluation matrix workshops, the same stakeholders identified evaluation questions, indicators, evaluation methods, evaluation data sources and a basis of comparison that could be used to carry out an evaluation. These workshops were incredibly productive in developing a common understanding and description of the Kativik Teacher Education program and in creating a detailed plan to evaluate the program.
CRECS team members are currently in the process of meeting with Community Members and Elders, School Board staff, Teachers, Vice-Principals, Principals and University partners to discuss their thoughts about the Kativik Teacher Education program, in order to begin answering three of the evaluation questions described in the evaluation plan, as part of a preliminary evaluation. A systematic literature review on strategies for conducting program evaluations in Indigenous communities is also underway in order to inform and support similar upcoming evaluative work. We look forward to the continuation of this work with communities in Nunavik.