The model of evaluation that has been adopted within Bridging the Gap is collaborative and formative. It engages participants in setting goals and in monitoring achievements against these goals. This approach to evaluation encourages reflection, which has been shown to bring about change in the practice of professionals, including teachers. It creates an environment where innovation and risk-taking are possible, because the evaluation is not based on a ‘finger-pointing’ approach, nor on an assumption of deficit or failure.
By incorporating elements of participant observation, action research and reflective practice, the evaluation facilitates the concurrent documentation and early analysis of the outcomes. It allows for processes and actions to be adapted in the light of emerging results and provides good examples of practice for dissemination, both within the project and further afield. In this way, Bridging the Gap focuses clearly on identifying the impact of various interventions, and the evaluation, by being an integrated part of the action plan, positively supports participants. In adopting such a systematic approach to evaluation, Bridging the Gap is enabled to engage in evidence based advocacyof certain approaches to promoting educational inclusion.