23 SES 10 C, Governing by Expectation: School Inspection and Evaluation across Europe and Beyond (Part 1)
Symposium: to be continued in 23 SES 11 C
Traditionally governing in education, including school inspection policy, falls under the formal competency of national authorities and their responsibilities. In accordance with professional-bureaucratic governing, it is common practice in European countries for state authorities and professional agencies to produce policy documents, funding mechanisms, and legal frameworks, targeting actors and their responsibilities in particular contexts. However, in contemporary educational policy arenas, transnational and inter-governmental processes are demanding, with a growing influence of expert actors, creating a European education policy space (Lawn & Grek, 2012). National institutions and their practices can potentially be reconfigured in this setting.
This double-symposium pays special attention to the way governing in education actively reshapes roles and responsibilities through expectations, created by multiple forms of activities associated with school inspection and evaluation. Within education policy spaces, coordinating mechanisms transform from what Hopmann (2008) characterises as ‘management of placement’ towards ‘management of expectations.’ This change is related to new forms of governance where data plays a vital role (Ozga et.al. 2011).
A core policy question focuses on to which extent key actors with different roles within the education system, live up to the expectations, which compared with legal standards and regulations, create what policy researchers term ‘regulatory accountability’ (Dubnick, 2006; Hood et.al. 2001). Following this line of reasoning, actors are held accountable in the case of both legal deviances as well as by failing to meet expectations created by evaluation, focusing on desired results. It is argued that governing by expectations, targets not only legal compliancy, but also the performativity of institutions and systems, focusing more on evaluative approaches than previously. By this argument, we assume that governing by expectation reshapes both mind-sets and roles of those involved.
The papers within this double-symposium exemplify how contrasting approaches to document analysis, interview studies and/or small-scale surveys contribute with scientific knowledge to contemporary issues on accountability issues within the field of education policy research (Steiner-Khamsi, 2013).
The first paper of the first session, explores the relation between evaluation systems in Swedish higher education and governing from 1993 and onwards, the second investigates how state school inspectors perceive their regulatory role, contributing to expectations towards their own roles as well as school principals, while the third paper enquires, by a synthesising approach, how inspectorates since the middle of the eighties handle expectations within the governance of the French education system.
Together the presentations illuminate a number of corresponding changes about the way expectations reshape policies and practices across education levels and systems, which finally will be discussed in view of europeanization processes, however not excluding the possibility of differences on a national scale.
Dubnick, M. J. (2006). Orders of Accountability. Paper presented at the World Ethics Forum, University of Oxford, UK. http://pubpages.unh.edu/dubnick/papers/2006/oxford2006.pdf
Hood, C., Rothstein, H., & Baldwin, R. (2001). The government of risk: Understanding risk regulation regimes: Oxford University Press.
Hopmann, S. T. (2008). No child, no school, no state left behind: schooling in the age of accountability. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(4), 417-456
Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education: governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposium Books.
Ozga, J., Dahler-Larsen, P., Segerholm, C. & Simola, H. (Eds.) (2011). Fabrication Quality in Education: Data and Governance in Europe. London & New York: Routledge.
Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2013). What is Wrong with the ‘What-Went-Right’ Approach in Educational Policy? European Educational Research Journal, 12 (1).
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