The GOAL evaluation had three aims. The first was developmental: to support programme development across the six countries by providing evidence during the life of the pilot on programme processes. The second was summative: to assess, as rigorously as possible, the impacts of GOAL on service users and other programme stakeholders. The third aim focused on knowledge cumulation: to provide evidence on programme processes and outcomes in order to support future policy and programme development in the field of adult education guidance.

 Five research questions were asked:

  1. To what degree did programmes achieve their implementation aims across the five intervention objectives, and what factors at programme and policy level appeared to influence the achievement of implementation aims?
  2. What service user outcomes were achieved, for what groups, and to what degree?
  3. What programme-level factors were associated with the achievement of positive service user outcomes?
  4. What policy-level factors were associated with the achievement of those outcomes?
  5. To what degree were programme expectations met?

This was a mixed methods evaluation. Data were gathered via a range of quantitative and qualitative methods including: client monitoring data; a client satisfaction survey; a client follow-up survey; and qualitative interviews with clients, programme staff, programme partners and policy actors. The collection of client monitoring and satisfaction data was ongoing, qualitative data were collected in two waves in Spring 2016 and 2017, and the follow-up survey was conducted in Spring 2017.

  Evaluation design and methods

The methodological approach for this evaluation was shaped by the complexities of the project design, namely that:

  • GOAL was multi-site (two sites in each of five countries, and four sites in the Netherlands) and multi-organisational.
  • GOAL had multiple objectives.
  • GOAL was predicated on cross-organisational collaboration.
  • Each partner country had its own unique context and target groups (and target numbers to achieve).
  • Programme resources were finite, and were by necessity and logic primarily focused on the interventions rather than the evaluation.

For these reasons, it was neither feasible nor advisable to conduct an experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation involving comparison groups. Instead the evaluation has positioned itself within the broad ‘Theory of Change’ (Weitzman et al., 2002) approach. the GOAL evaluation also draws on a specific type of Theory of Change evaluation: Realist Evaluation (Pawson and Tilley, 1997).

Read the full GOAL methodology




"GOAL interview: a client came to discuss a program for validation of employability skills, in which she is going to participate."

"In-house discussions with other counsellors and project managers on an unexpected issue with a student. We tried to solve the issue together. We had to contact another school."


“Presentation for unemployed people about possibilities to get involved into the Goal project and get free of charge orientation and guidance.”

“Orientation and guidance of adult people. 2 clients are consulted: they are unemployed and have plans for learning a new profession in order to find a job.“


“The prison population and educational needs of the detainees are far from homogeneous.”

 “Usually, there are 6 to 8 detainees at a time, each with an individual program. I guide them. The guidance can be focused on basic education, vocational education or specific courses detainees are taking at that time”


"Working with clients gives me energy and brings me joy, because between individual sessions I can see progress, changes, new beliefs, enrolment in education programmes and I can build good relationships with my clients."


"The feeling that I do a lot of good for my clients is priceless."

Czech Republic
Czech Republic

“At the start of every session, counsellors try to gather information about the client, his or her position within the family and wider friendship circles, and his or her health. They also explore the client’s feelings, ideas and motivation.”

“Based on the client’s answers, the counsellor selects ways to proceed in order to meet the client’s needs and goals.”


"All information, agreements made and steps taken during sessions are written down in the registration system"

“Even the names of persons clients have been talking about are registered in order to remember the whole communication line and, more importantly, to avoid them having to say things twice. It creates a sense of trust with our clients.”


from clients, counsellors and stakeholders


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