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Assessing the achievement of learning outcomes in peace education

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

As both the value of educational assessment for educational development and peace education for sustainable social development are increasingly recognised, it is of concern that peace education currently has no widely accepted assessment methodology or foundation for this. This may be due to the absence of agreed learning objectives. Instead, peace education programmes tend to be evaluated as interventions to directly achieve peace, bypassing the need for learning outcomes. Using the expert consensus methodology Delphi, this thesis enquires how achievement of learning outcomes in peace education should be assessed, if at all. This instance of Delphi was organised with a group of 16 experts in the field of peace education and, where possible, its evaluation, over three rounds leading to a ‘statement of principles’ in response to the research question. In the first round, a questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions was administered. A second round was implemented to solicit feedback on the analysis from Round 1 and, finally, Round 3 was applied to validate the statement of principles.
This Delphi found a difference between the social purpose of peace education and its learning outcomes. While the social purpose is peace, to be education, peace education must have learning objectives. While peace education is understood to be education on (group) identity and diversity, this subject can be engaged with cognitively and non-cognitively, suggesting different types of learning outcomes. In relation to these different types of outcomes, achievement should be assessed in different ways. Methods and methodologies for cognitive assessment largely exist, but this is not the case for assessment of non-cognitive skills. The Delphi concluded that learning outcomes in peace education culminate in inter-cultural communication skills, which combine cognitive with non-cognitive characteristics. The offered understandings are underpinned by a relational conception of peace that is open-ended and non-utopian.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018

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