Hamblin (1974) quoted by Bramley (2002) suggests that there are five levels of evaluation linked by a cause and effect chain:
Training leads to Reactions
which leads to Learning
which leads to Changes in behaviour
which leads to Changes in the organisation
which leads to Change in the achievement of ultimate goals.
The objectives set at the beginning of the mentor programme could relate to any or all of these levels. For example, a skill learned could be evaluated as a change in behaviour or could result in an organisational change in performance. As such, each objective of the programme must be considered at each level of evaluation.
Alternatively, you could use a Responsive evaluation approach. In this model, the stakeholders evaluate the effect of the programme on themselves.
The stakeholders in the mentoring programme will be:
- the manager and mentors - who implement and support the programme
- the mentees who have profited from the programme
- those staff who are not part of the programme but who may have 'suffered' as a result.
Other factors to consider when carrying out your evaluation could include these ideas, adapted from Ideas on evaluation from Roger Greenaway:
- Be selective and don't ask lots of questions.
- Be realistic, keep any questionnaire short.
- Be creative and put together an exciting evaluation session at the end of a programme - a card game; put these statements into order of importance in your experience as a mentor/mentee - a picture game; select those pictures that best represent your growth as a person during the mentoring process.
- Be careful and decide on an evaluation that is informative and useful rather than one that is likely to cost much less than the 'perfect research' model.
- Be honest - ensure everyone knows why the evaluation is being carried out.
- Be balanced - don't reject the conclusions you don't like.
- Be holistic and try not to separate the programme into evaluation by pieces of paper - speak to people and record their information about, and impressions of, the programme.
- Be human and understand the feelings and behaviour of those involved and don't just use hard data.
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