What is self-evaluation?

Self-evaluation is a process of review applied to a chosen area of activity.

It attempts to establish the strengths and areas for improvement of the activity, and any actions that would help.

It enables us to know whether the work we are doing is having a positive impact on the lives of young people, adults and the community – and it recognises good quality work and identifies where improvement is needed.

What is the difference between self-evaluation and any other type of evaluation?

Self-evaluation draws on the widest possible range of evaluative material as evidence, so as to see the quality of a piece of work from a variety of perspectives.

It …

  • consists of a conscious effort to reflect on particular aspects of work – asking whether they were as good as you’d have liked them to be, what the strengths and areas for improvement were, and what can be done to improve them – and recording the conclusions you come to.
  • can be undertaken by any or all of those involved in that activity.
  • helps measure outcomes; helps collect evidence to evaluate effectiveness; helps identify strengths and areas for improvement; and helps report and plan for improvement.
  • can be carried out on any aspect of a provision, at any level, and by any group of people involved, whether they be service users, practitioners, partners, management committee members, or others.
  • is a process that can be carried out at any point during the activity, or after it has finished.

Self-evaluation is a process that is used in many professions that have learning at their heart; however, this Toolkit is designed to apply specifically to Community Learning and Development (CLD) provision in the Scottish context.


Self-evaluation of CLD provision …

  • is normally based on a framework, such as ‘HGILDIOC’ (‘How Good is the Learning and Development in Our Community’), that sets out the various elements making up CLD, and starts by posing questions for each element.
  • is usually recorded by summarising the answers to questions given in the framework, assessing the ‘strengths ‘and ‘areas for improvement’, and thereby assisting to develop actions that might bring about improvement to the activity being evaluated.
  • will, in addition, normally quote sources of ‘evidence’ that will help to clarify and substantiate the claims for ‘strengths’. Where possible, evaluation will draw on a wide range of evidence (all relating to the same activity, but from different sources), so as to gain an overview from a variety of perspectives.

Other frameworks which may be useful include EFQM (third sector, statutory requirement for the Scottish Government); How good is our third sector organisation; How Good is Our School ; How Good is Our Culture and Sport 2; and the Public Service Improvement Framework (PSIF).