Evaluation and Monitoring

The CSC’s Evaluation and Monitoring programme identifies the outcomes and impact of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships on individuals, on institutions, and more widely on communities and societies.

Approach

The CSC uses a variety of methods to gather evidence relating to the outcomes and impact of its Scholarship and Fellowship programmes. In particular, we aim to track individual trajectories to determine personal award outcomes, as well as explore the cumulative impact of awards on wider socioeconomic development.

Each year we send out surveys to incoming Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and alumni to gather information about their pre-and post-scholarship/fellowship careers.

From alumni, we collect details on the knowledge and skills that they gained during their award, and their ability to apply these skills in the workplace after returning home. We also ask for details of their activities, and the impact they are having in key development sectors.

We are also interested in the experiences and views of other stakeholders and partners; we survey hosts, employers, and overseas nominating agencies. We also undertake ad hoc survey exercises.

Understanding the experiences of our Scholars and Fellows while they are in the UK and after they return home is an important part of our work, and we collect detailed qualitative data through individual interviews and focus group discussions. These activities enable us to gain an in-depth understanding of the successes of our alumni and the challenges that they face in their careers, as well as providing a wealth of rich information about wider outcomes and impact.

As with surveys, the E&M team has also initiated interviews and focus groups with hosts and supervisors, in order to better understand their experiences of the programme and to document its benefits to UK universities and host organisations.

Developing new tools and methods

Since the initial tracing and survey exercises the CSC E&M team has continually sought to experiment and develop new approaches to evaluate the impact of Commonwealth Scholarships.

We have experimented with counterfactual approaches, aligned data collection tools across programmes to allow for future comparative review, developed a new longitudinal survey methodology, expanded our qualitative data collection tools and trialled new methods including diary studies.

Upcoming priorities include developing a written theory of change and developing new and improved means of publishing and disseminating our findings.

Scholarship evaluation: collaborating with others

The CSC is continually striving to improve its approach to Scholarship evaluation. As well as attending relevant workshops, seminars, and other events within the evaluation and higher education sectors, the E&M team works closely with external colleagues in the UK and overseas to share experiences and knowledge wherever possible.

For more information

Contact the E&M team at evaluation@cscuk.org.uk