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Evaluation Transmits Values and Cultures

So far, we have presented the evolution of knowledge on the science of evaluation. In parallel, we showed the construction of values that was associated with evaluation over the centuries. We emphasize the sense of attesting give credit, to give to faith in the presence of witnesses, the examination boards and commissions, the sense of sharing with justice and right value; the sense of weighing, measuring, for an exchange with equivalence; the use of the balance—fair and equal weights; the merit of character; the examination leading to social mobility; the sense of punishment and reward; the standardization of performances as a mechanism of education; proof as scientific evaluation; scientific measure of evaluations; measures and psychological and intelligence tests; evaluation as part of the educational curriculum; and the macro-scale evaluation. At the same time, alongside these achievements, a sense of evaluation as symbolic violence was developed as a means to monitor and punish; evaluation is responsible for the formation of socially differentiated consciousness.

Knowledge about evaluation has evolved in the sociohistorical process. The senses and meanings were built over time and remain very close to what we see contemporaneously. The origins of the evaluation are indelibly fixated on merit and distinction between subjects. Values and cultures have been forged with the concourse of tests and examinations throughout much earlier centuries. In general, the authors who study evaluation forget this past and give the theme a focused source in the twentieth century. They say that in its first generation, the early twentieth century, evaluation was understood as a measure of results; in its second generation, between the years 1930 and 1950, it was defined in terms of achievement of objectives; in its third generation, since the 1960s, as a judgment or consideration of merit or value of something; and in the fourth generation, evaluation is understood as a construction of reality, an assignment of meanings, influenced by the contexts and the intervening values.

In the final decades of the twentieth century and early twenty-first century, evaluation turned intensively toward higher education. There is an exponential growth of its attributes applied to accreditation processes, monitoring and auditing institutions. There is a growth of evaluation processes aimed at academics; there is an overuse of evaluation procedures around intellectual productivity.

When we refer to the borders of the history, origins, and values built up over the centuries, the past emerges with its strength and legitimacy. However, we found a mismatch between the higher education we know, shaped by Western models of the university and higher education marked by models emerging around the globe in the vicinity of different sociopolitical and territorial realities. The evaluation and accreditation procedures, of individual academic evaluation, easily apply to universities of European and American central countries and fall short when it comes to the less developed realities of the Latin American, Asian, and African higher education. In contrast, evaluation of higher education carries with it the coloniality of power and knowledge because it plays evaluation formats that serve more to the developed world institutions than those institutions that attend new audiences such as immigrants, African descendants, original or traditional people, and the newly emerging social classes.

It is important to consider that in the last century evaluation knowledge has become scientific, at the very core of positivist, liberal and neoliberal philosophies. By feeding on the successive accumulation of knowledge brought by research, mechanisms of production and reproduction of knowledge were appropriated by public policies of any nation in the developed, emerging, or underdeveloped worlds. To be put into practice, such policies have favored more regulation and control systems than the autonomy of the researchers and their institutions. So that institutions try to introduce nonregulatory evaluation processes, more democratic and participatory approaches. But antagonistic processes, regulatory and nonregulatory, generated the intensifying of regulation by itself. In the running, evaluation has ceased to be micro-institutional, local, and national, but also has become a global imperative for the quality ofhigher education.

In contrast to the global imperative for quality, we propose a glocal, that is, a global evaluation with a local perspective. In the academia, there are very special spaces for learning and training such as research network and the research collaboration spaces. We advocate evaluation that favors autonomy of these institutional contexts ensuring the ability to self-produce, self- legislate, self-regulate, and self-criticize. We think such learning environments need to set-up isonomia, equal rights and duties of individuals before the law, isegoria, equal rights of the subjects to say their word, and isocracy, equal rights of decision and voting power (Leite, 2003,2005). We advocate a kind of evaluation that reaches for excellence, which contributes to the growth of research and collaboration networks, which is more participatory and internal than external, regulatory, or autocratic. We speak of a contextualized and multidimensional evaluation to preserve memories and cultures of each research group and, at the same time, to allow the players of each network to evolve together, and grow and strengthen the research activity and its soft and hard skills (Leite et al., 2014a; Morosini et al., 2016).

We defend that research networks evaluation (RNE) is useful, necessary, and can provide a competitive advantage to those organizations whose mission is to improve and value knowledge production. Looking beyond the traditional evaluation, comparison of inputs/outputs discrete measures, we need to apply a network approach to evaluate research by itself. In accordance with Godin (2007) and Rogers and colleagues (2001), we aim to reformulate the “quintessential bureaucratic evaluation question” to examine more closely untidy networks, to focus on the content of network links rather than their formal aspects, and to develop a concept of “network effectiveness.”

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