The thesis of this paper is that the humanistic mode of inquiry is underemployed in evaluation studies and the future evaluation of Follow Through could profitably use humanistic approaches. The original Follow Through evaluation was based on the assumption that the world consists of a single system explainable by appropriate methods; the evaluation presumed that in the domain of early childhood education there exists an underlying internally consistent reality to be discovered. The evaluation foundered badly. An alternate method of evaluation is to deal with the world in terms of ordinary language and as it appears phenomenologically to individuals. This mode of investigation emphasizes experience as lived. Ways of investigating such experiences in a disciplined manner exist; these disciplines are called the humanities. Whereas science looks for causes, the humanities look for reasons. The essence of humanistic thought seems to be that human action is intelligible only when we see it through the eyes of the acting agent, only when we see why he would do what he did. Many of the features of humanistic inquiry can be seen in Zimiles and Mayer's (1980) study of the Bank Street Follow Through Project. (RH)
Paper presented at the Learning Research and Development Center/National Institute of Education Conference on Follow Through (Pittsburgh, PA, March 12-13, 1980).
Bank Street College of Education NY; Phenomenological Evaluation; Project Follow Through
1 - Available on microfiche
National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.