ERG SES H 01, Curriculum and Education
Research Purpose and Question
This first stage of a Ph.D. research is aiming to explore current inspection policies and practices of one province in China and to identify what strengths and weaknesses are existing in inspection system of China to improve current inspection standards of N province in China. It is anticipated that the original evidence presented will also propose new recommendations with regard to improving the school inspection practice and educational quality in China.
Theoretical Framework of Education Quality
Outcome: The primary definition of “effectiveness” concerns ‘the production of a desired result or outcome’(Levine & Lezotte, 1990). Due to the diversity of interaction within the schooling processes, some outcomes could also be assessed and yield non-statistic data which is separated from score results. The components of students’ outcomes tend to be various apart from test scores. Thus, more effective instruments should be developed in order to meet the demands of students’ overall development in a broader range of academic and social areas (Gray et al., 1996).
Process: Educational quality is regarded as a complex system in the context of policy, culture, and economy by UNICEF (2000) who claimed that education quality is a process where "trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skillful assessment facilitates learning and reduce disparities". Scheerens (1990) proposed in the integrated model (IM) that both factors at the school level and at classroom level contribute to schooling process. In the perspective of Creemers and Kyriakides (2006), effective schooling itself should be regarded as a dynamic and ongoing process, where factors in school level and classroom level might interact with each other and bare influences on students’ outcome.
Equity: OECD (2012) stated that a successful and healthy education system pays attention to both equity and quality in order to offer each child a fair opportunity to receive a high-quality education. Although long-run educational reforms have gradually improved education quality in China, the imbalanced distribution of education quality between developed and less developed provinces, the urban and rural areas, and the coastal and remote regions still and will be existing for a long time (State Council 2010).
The criteria (e.g. processes of teaching and learning), and quality standards (e.g. excellent, inadequate) are employed to make a judgment on the quality of education that are seen as critical components in school inspection with emphasis on the concept of education quality (Scheerens et al., 2003). School inspection system, on the one hand, requires school education quality to meet the minimum level; on the other hand, plays an active role in encouraging schools to comply with the legal requirements the minimum level (De Wolf & Janssens, 2007). Whereas, “monitoring for compliance may take place alongside evaluation for accountability and improvement” (Slater, 2013, p. 8).
Many of the frameworks were informed by school effectiveness theory according to Ehren et al. (2013) who conduct comparative studies of inspection frameworks in six European countries with strong focuses on educational processes. As Van Bruggen (2010) introduced how eighteen European inspectorates have standards on "school organization and administration " and "the teaching and learning" in their frameworks to inspect schools against a common set of criteria which represents national perspectives on quality education. “School organization and administration" that is comprised of effective factors in school level and "teaching and learning" that is comprised of effective factors in classroom level jointly contribute to processes in the complex school system as a whole.
Therefore, four main dimensions of education quality could be recognised as, compliance with legal regulations, school organisation and administration, teaching and learning, and outcome.
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