Impact measurement: towards creating a flexible evaluation design for academic literacy interventions

  • Ilse Fouche University of Pretoria
  • Tobie van Dyk Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice, North-West University
  • Gustav Butler School of Languages, North-West University
Keywords: academic literacy, programme evaluation, impact measurement, effect


Considering the vast array of academic literacy interventions that are presented both nationally and internationally, and the resources required to present these interventions, it is becoming increasingly important for those who are responsible for these interventions to provide evidence of their impact. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of instruments that are commonly used to assess impact, and to discuss guidelines regarding the use of these instruments, their strengths and their weaknesses. The instruments are divided into two broad categories, namely those that measure the observable improvement in students’ academic literacy abilities between the onset and the completion of an intervention, and those that measure the extent to which these abilities are necessary and applied in students’ content subjects. A conceptual evaluation design is then proposed that could be used in evaluating the impact of a range of academic literacy interventions. Avenues to explore in future include testing the design in the South African context.


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