11 SES 04, Standardization Tests vs. Other Assessments
In many countries the implementation of Quality Management Systems (QMS) (ISO STANDARDS, Total Quality Management Models, and other alternatives) in educational organisations has increased (Chen, Chen, & Chen, 2013; Duque, 2013; Mehta, Verma, & Seth, 2013). Various administrations and the organisations promoting these models defend the need and relevance of the management systems associated with these models in order to set up continuous improvement plans. However not everyone is a major advocate of these models and management systems. Detractors also strongly criticise and challenge their relevance in improving organisations, especially in the education sector (Doherty, 2008).
This criticism has gradually decreased with time due to the positive experiences in many educational institutions. Nonetheless, the supposed improvement generated by these systems requires proof and evidence. Until now barely any references could be found in literature and the limited evidence from studies has not provided identical results on the usefulness of quality management systems in schools (Stensaker, Langfeldt, Harvey, Huisman & Westerheijden, 2011). While some studies seem to show considerable improvements in education (Cantón Mayo & Arias Gago, 2009; Ramírez García & Lorenzo, 2009), other papers indicate their effects are irrelevant or even detrimental for education centres.
Without going into the requirements of implementing a QMS, the improvement that these systems seek to promote is not based on immediate results, but rather medium to long-term sustainable changes. This transformation cannot only take place at the start of the implementation, not even during the first years, but rather it should be consolidated over time, as a consequence of the progressive implementation of the system. These are the medium-long term effects. In this sense, it is necessary to differentiate immediate results from those generated over time as a consequence of implementing the system and improvement plans, through interaction with other factors in the same context, centre or organisation. In this paper, it has been termed the latter “impact”, to differentiate it from the immediate results referred to above (Fernández-Díaz, 2013).
There is no doubt that the arguments and procedures required for the implementation of these QMS appear to indicate their efficacy, as has been expressed by those who, with a greater or lesser level of confidence, decided at one point to set up a management system. The correct implementation of QMS in schools has an impact in different areas. Through the specialized literature and the documentation of the different QMS (Rodríguez-Mantilla & Fernández-Díaz, 2013; Fernández-Cruz, Rodríguez-Mantilla & fernández-Díaz, 2015), large dimensions can be identified where the potential impact of QMS is to be assessed, such as: the vertical and horizontal communication system (among teachers, management team, families, etc.); the management system of the school; the quality of the interpersonal relationships between teachers, students, families and the support and acknowledgments received by teachers for their work; the teaching-learning process; the satisfaction of students, families, teachers, etc.; the relations maintained by the school with other schools and institutions, etc. However, schools are organizations where different agents interact, so it is questionable whether the improvement brought about by the introduction of a QMS is perceived in a similar way by the different groups of people that make up the school.
Given this situation, the main aim of this paper is to compare the assessments that teachers and management team have on the impact of the implementation of a QMS (ISO 9001 STANDARDS) in schools with over 3 years of implementation.
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