The Aurora Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that supports Indigenous students to realise their full academic potential. It sets out to change perceptions of Indigenous students and transform life outcomes through the programs it runs from high school to postgraduate education.
In particular, the programs provide cultural and academic support to increase the number of Indigenous students transitioning from school to university and from graduate to postgraduate study at leading universities, including Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford.
Aurora was looking for longitudinal evidence that would document the individual and collective effectiveness of its programs, the program factors that optimise performance and the potential barriers to efficient program delivery. Aurora engaged Nous to evaluate its four education programs – the High School Program, the Indigenous Scholarship Portal, the Aurora Study Tour and International Scholarships.
The evaluation was both a formative and summative methodology considering long-term impact as well as the opportunities to make changes to the daily running of the programs. Our work with Aurora was supported by the Nous Community Partnership Scheme.
To measure the effectiveness and impact of the programs, we developed a monitoring and evaluation framework, including data collection and analysis tools such as surveys and a dashboard. To do this we:
We also prepared a cost-benefit analysis to inform potential expansion of a pilot program for high school students, assessing the program against a base case while considering a new place-based model and tracking participant outcomes.
Aurora has regarded our work as invaluable, giving it evidence about the effectiveness of its programs, supporting it to identify what factors led to success or created barriers in programs, and offering insights that have shaped the future of each program. We worked alongside Aurora to build its capability, including training on best practice monitoring and evaluation. Aurora now uses the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to inform program implementation. Aurora has published the Nous evaluation reports on its website.
As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan, we also have a formal partnership with Aurora, including sponsoring Study Tour scholars. Several Nous employees are alumni from Aurora programs.