Evaluering Evaluation of Perspekt
Evaluation of Perspekt

The intervention
Perspekt is a set of teaching materials aimed at developing the emotional, personal and social skills of school students. The material is an educational tool which includes exercises, role-play, film and games. The aim is to create a good classroom environment through training in the various skills covered by these activities. Through a structured learning programme, Perspekt strengthens students’ ability to resolve conflicts on their own and helps to improve their understanding of rules, their respect for diversity among their classmates, and their sense of responsibility. For more information about the intervention, click here.

The evaluations
Two independent evaluations of Perspekt courses have been carried out. The first was conducted in the autumn of 2012 and covered the Perspekt work from 2007 to 2011. The evaluation had two overarching goals: (1) to enable external pedagogical experts to describe and evaluate the material and (2) to allow the teachers who had trialled the materials to contribute to a collection of descriptions and comments on their experiences. The full evaluation is available (in Danish).

The second evaluation tracked the Perspekt implementation in Høje Taastrup municipality from September 2012 to June 2013. This evaluation also had two overarching objectives: (1) to document views of the implementation and the outcomes and relevance of the material from among school students, teachers, school heads and parents in Høje Taastrup and (2) to make an evaluation of any synergy effects that might exist when Perspekt is implemented at several year levels within a school. The full evaluation is again available (in Danish).

Evaluation methods

The evaluation of the Perspekt implementations from 2007 to 2011 is primarily based on qualitative data. The evaluation team used individual interviews and focus groups among selected teachers, school heads and other pedagogical experts. Approximately 30 teachers were interviewed, using questionnaires. In addition, Trine Kløveager carefully examined and commented on the teaching materials, and observed a number of teaching sessions. The evaluation of the Perspekt implementation in Høje Taastrup municipality is based on individual interviews with school heads, teachers and parents and on focus group sessions with school students. Participant observations were carried out during the actual teaching of Perspekt, and a questionnaire survey was conducted among the teachers.

Principal conclusions

The evaluation of the Perspekt implementations from 2007 to 2011 shows that Perspekt is very relevant and well-structured matieral, viewed from pedagogical and psychological standpoints. It notes, however, that too rigid a structure can inhibit individual teachers in their teaching, among other things in differentiating between strong and weak students. In addition, there is a need for an overall theoretical and research-based reference framework for the intervention. The teachers’ experiences of Perspekt were positive. Many of them said that the Perspekt material had resulted in a better learning climate in the classroom, and fewer conflicts. The teachers also said that their students were pleased with Perspekt and looked forward to the classes. However, some teachers talked about difficulties in keeping both the strongest and the weakest students in each class fully engaged in the work throughout the course.

The evaluation of the Perspekt implementation in Høje Taastrup municipality showed that there was broad unanimity among school heads and teachers in their view that the Perspekt material was relevant for work related to their students’ emotional, personal and social skills. They were also in agreement that the Perspekt material was well thought out and well structured, with relevant and varied exercises. Students also expressed their satisfaction with the Perspekt materials. However, a desire was expressed for the Perspekt teaching to be made more flexible, and there was a request for better opportunities for adapting the material to specific classes. It was not possible to document any immediately apparent synergy in the form of increased levels of discussion of Perspekt among the teachers involved and between the teachers and school administrators, nor any spin-off from Perspekt in the schools’ social cultures.

Publications

A great many quantitative measurements of students’ social, emotional and academic skills were collected in connection with the 2012 implementation of Perspekt in Høje Taastrup. The ROCKWOOL Foundation Research Unit is planning to publish a book in 2016 that (1) discusses methods of collecting data for the assessment of social and academic skills among students in primary/lower secondary school, (2) analyses the links between social, emotional and academic skills among school students aged 7-11 years, and (3) indentifies the background characteristics associated with poor social skills in children. It is hoped that the book will be of value to researchers interested in collecting large datasets from Danish primary/lower secondary schools. It should be noted that the book will not be a quantitative evaluation of Perspekt itself, since the amount of data available is not sufficient to produce such an evaluation with adequate statistical power.