Review of the Danish Evaluation Institute

No priority given to media attention

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No priority given to media attention

EVA has no explicit press strategy that applies to the entire institute. However, there is a regulation that requires the issue of a press release for every report published. In addition to this, information is circulated to the media through EVA’s electronic magazine and via articles that the management or consultants sometimes write in the appropriate specialist journals.

No survey has been made of the impact of these measures. Nor has there been any analysis of how EVA is presented in various media.

In the view of EVA’s management, it would be desirable for the evaluations to be given more attention. “Visibility” is also one of seven strategic themes in the institute’s strategic plans for 2004-2006: “EVA’s evaluations take a form that is designed to create visibility about the strengths and weaknesses of the Danish educational system and EVA’s knowledge centre can provide tools for the development of quality”. The need of a more proactive press strategy is the subject of discussion in EVA’s board.12 According to the Chair, the aim is for EVA’s evaluation reports to become a factor in discussions of education in Denmark.

At the same time, however, EVA wants to avoid becoming more newsworthy by marketing “bad news”, as this would undermine the institute’s credibility. The press is not generally considered to be interested in positive evaluation results.13

Nor is it part of EVA’s mandate to attract the attention of the daily press or any other media, as was generally agreed by the ministry, management and most of EVA’s staff during the site visit. Concern for EVA’s relationship with the Ministry is one of the reasons why EVA’s staff may not speak freely to the media. The institute’s internal information strategy makes it clear that there is to be no risk of EVA being perceived as a political organisation. The representatives of the Ministry of Education stated that EVA’s task is to supply evaluations to provide a basis for public debate. The institute has no mandate to participate in the debate about the political follow-up of its evaluations.14

Moreover, these representatives claimed, it cannot be taken for granted that EVA’s staff have the skills required to participate in public debate.

EVA’s staff also considered that a high media profile could also mean that the institute might be perceived as menacing by the institutions.

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