Evaluation and training
Evaluation is a procedure to analyse an accomplished training activity. It includes efforts to collect and process information about a training activity from the perspective of its characteristics and outcomes.
Evaluation procedures have three principal functions:
1. To make teaching outcomes visible and clear
2. To open communication between the Judicial Academy and the judicial and prosecutorial community through a joint consideration of the outcomes and benefits of any accomplished training activity
3. To change practices and undertake any required activities based on the results of evaluation and research efforts.
A comprehensive evaluation of any training process is carried out at two levels:
• Evaluation of a specific training activity or formative evaluation
• Evaluation of the effects and outcomes of specific activities with respect to the level of expertise among judicial officials and improvements in the functioning of the overall system or summative evaluation
The first level of evaluation is focused on efforts to assess the organisation of a training activity, the quality of its implementation and the success of achieving the defined goals. This evaluation typically covers the following parameters: correlation between the type of a specific training activity and the method of its implementation, the methodology of achieving its objectives, didactic teaching skills, learning methods, interaction between the trainer and participants, group work dynamics and coordination, and the usefulness of education materials.
The second level of evaluation is much more complex and delicate given the specifics of discharging judicial duties. Judicial officials – including, in particular, judges making decisions – must be independent, impartial and free of any external or internal pressure. Therefore, the objective of training activities designed for judges should never be to “teach” them how to pass judgments, but should be aimed at developing those skills which are typical of experienced and professional judges.
Each target group is given a special questionnaire which contains questions reflecting the specifics of training activities carried out for such a group. The evaluation procedure includes efforts to implement questionnaires, process the results for each training group and prepare a final evaluation report for each programme topic.
The final evaluation report provides an extensive analysis of the most relevant legal and didactic aspects of training delivered on a specific topic, which are presented through the following sections:
a) General teaching context and objectives (introduction to the legal framework to explain the reasons for taking the initiative to organise teaching on this particular legal concept, its importance, the areas where difficulties and problems in its implementation are reflected, broader consequences of insufficient understanding of it and poor application, etc.);
b) Training materials (their scope and structure, the level at which legal provisions are discussed, the suitability of their content to target groups, the choice and presentation of case studies);
c) Didactic skills of trainers;
d) Organisation of teaching;
e) Information on attendance levels;
f) General assessment of success achieved by the training activity;
g) Highlighting the strengths of the completed training activity and the areas for improvement and revision, including recommendations for further activities to explore in greater depth the legal issues covered by the training initiative.
Since the end of 2011, all regional centres have been implementing the automated evaluation of training activities by means of laptops using the ILIAS platform.