Critical Readings on Assessing and Learning for Social Change: A Review

Published on 1 January 2008

The readings in this literature review provide an overview of the ideas and approaches that are considered useful in shaping new approaches to assessment and learning that strengthen the very processes of transformation that are their focus. The choice of readings has been strongly shaped by discussions held with the ‘ASC group’, an invited group of development professionals who discussed the theme during 2005 and 2006. The review aims to guide individuals engaged in transformational development processes – be they in the South or North – with two different needs:

1. Those interested in monitoring and evaluation and facing methodological and conceptual questions about how to deal with the dilemmas posed by social change processes in terms of assessment and learning.

2. Those active in social change processes and keen to understand how their work can be strengthened by conscious assessment and learning processes.

This review consists of a combination of conceptual and methodological discussions, as well as practical examples about assessing social change. The conceptual part of the review consists of two blocks of readings:’Perspectives on Assessment’ and ‘Analytical Frameworks’. Both relate to more conceptual ideas that underpin the more practical methodological choices.

The practical examples including descriptions of generic methodologies as well as specific case studies and are organised in three blocks. The readings in ‘Practical Considerations’ seek to address some of the more uneasy methodological dilemmas. In ‘Specific Methods and Approaches’, readings relate to concrete examples of recent methods that have emerged in part to address some of the dilemmas.

Finally, in ‘Inspiration from Concrete Examples’, the reader will find case studies from a wide range of geographical, social and organisational contexts that show how effective and just assessment and learning processes can be possible.

Publication details

published by
Guijt, I.
IDS Development Bibliography, issue 21
1 85864 674 X


About this publication

Related content

Working Paper

Effective Social Protection in Conflict: Findings from Sudan

Working Paper

Izzy Birch & 2 others

22 February 2024