26 SES 04 A JS, School Leadership and Quality Assurance
Paper Session Joint Session NW 11 and NW 26
The French education system has traditionally been a centralized one (see for example Derouet, 2000). Since the 1980s, efforts have been made to decentralize various aspects (for a brief overview, see Tulowitzki, 2013). Despite these efforts, the French school system still has a significant degree of centralization with key components like the curriculum or final exams still being managed centrally by the State (OECD, 2012, p. 512). This degree of centralization puts the school principal in France in a special context. While there appears to be a consensus that the school leader generally plays a key role with regard to school effectiveness and improvement (see for example Fullan, 2002; Teddlie & Stringfield, 1993; for a more critical assessment, see Scheerens, Hendriks, & Steen, 2012), the impact of connected instances like the school district or the State seems to warrant further research (Datnow & Park, 2010). This factor seems to be even more relevant in a country with an education system like France. National systems of school governance usually influence schools through formal means, e.g. laws, regulations and the settings of standards. These formal means can vary heavily across different nations. Therefore, studies of individual States/nations can help reveal unique properties as well as internationally and inter-culturally shared characteristics and to explore possible ways of enhancement of existing systems.
The objective of this contribution is to describe and assess the role of the State in school improvement and effectiveness in France. Additionally, the aim is to analyze the role of school principals with regard to school improvement and effectiveness in relation to the role of the State. Guiding questions for this study were:
- What is/are the principal agent(s) of school improvement in France?
- What is the relationship between local (school principals) and central educational agents (Inspectorate, Ministry of Education) with regard to school improvement?
Primary sources consisted of law texts and official regulations for school leaders. Additionally, official, but non-binding recommendations as well as studies and program reports published or endorsed by the French Ministry of Education were included in the analysis. Finally, data was obtained from semi-structured interviews with five principals from Paris, France. The study took place between January 2010 and February 2012.
This study contributes to the understanding of different agents of school improvement by offering a glimpse into the intricacies of school improvement across different levels of governance. As various school systems in Europe and around the world are undergoing endeavors of decentralization, the findings presented in this proposed contribution can be used to inform next generation school improvement efforts. Additionally, findings provide a foundation for cross-national comparisons, especially with other education systems in transitional periods.
Creswell, J. W. (2008). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage Publications, Incorporated. Datnow, A., & Park, V. (2010). Large-Scale Reform in the Era of Accountability: The System Role in Supporting Data-Driven Decision Making. In A. Hargreaves, A. Lieberman, M. Fullan, & D. Hopkins (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Educational Change (pp. 209–220). Dordrecht: Springer. Derouet, J.-L. (2000). School autonomy in a society with multi-faceted political references: the search for new ways of coordinating action. Journal of Education Policy, 15(1), 61–69. doi:10.1080/026809300286024 Fullan, M. (2002). Principals as Leaders in a Culture of Change [originally published as “The Change Leader”]. Educational Leadership, 59(8). Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (2009). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (7th ed.). London: Transaction Publishers. Ministère de l’Education Nationale. (2002, January 3). Bulletin Officiel - B.O. spécial n°1 du 3 janvier 2002. Retrieved from http://www.education.gouv.fr/botexte/sp1020103/MENA0102675X.htm#annexe1 Ministère de l’éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. (2008). Rapport annuel des inspections générales 2007. La Documentation Française. Ministère de l’éducation nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. (2010). Rapport annuel des inspections générales 2009. La Documentation Française. Normand, R. (2012). School improvement and accountability in France: timid changes, big hopes. In U. Lindqvist & S. Pettersson (Eds.), Create learning for all – what matters? – CIDREE Yearbook 2012 (pp. 164–175). Stockholm: Skolverket. OECD (Ed.). (2008). Improving school leadership. Volume 1: Policy & Practice. Paris: OECD. OECD (Ed.). (2012). Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD. Scheerens, J., Hendriks, M., & Steen, R. (2012). Meta Analysis Of School Leadership Effects. Conference paper presented at the 25th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in Malmö, Sweden. Teddlie, C., & Stringfield, S. (1993). Schools Make a Difference: Lessons Learned from a 10-Year Study of School Effects. New York: Teachers College Press. Tulowitzki, P. (2013). Leadership & School Improvement in France. Journal of Educational Administration, 51(6).
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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