32 SES 11 A, Measuring Learning Schools
Questions regarding the controllability of school development processes represent one of the main topics of educational research in Germany, not only since the PISA study. Since the 2000s the related research areas can be categorized under the term ‘new governance’ in education. Since then various studies have generated comprehensive knowledge on, for example, the use of data from mandatory proficiency tests(e.g. van Ackeren et al., 2013). In this context the German study focusses on organizational action in schools which is related to shifts and changes in organizational structure and is associated with the implementation of education policy instruments such as these mandatory proficiency tests. Thus, the study assumes that this implementation of education policy instruments creates a need to change, which can be described as a need to reorganize the organization, i.e. the redesign of organizational structures in schools (Thiel, 2008).
In Norway studies indicate a certain ‘newness’ of the field of data use (Mausethagen, Prøitz, & Skedsmo, 2017), and few studies reports on data use in practice. Still, between 2012 and 2017 every lower secondary school in Norway had the opportunity to participate in at national initiative (UiU) that aimed to develop learning organization and student learning through systematic development work where schools and universitites collaborated. Data was used to find the point of departure for every school, but there are still not many studies about how the teachers used data to inform decisions during their participation in UiU. The Norwegian Directorate of Education government, also have engaged national corps of supervisors, who provide support for schools in the leadership and processes of development work, and the corps support the school owners so that the organization is better equipped to carry out systematic quality development work. External school evaluation is a tool provided by the Directorate to guide the corps works. The Norwegian study focusses on organizational action in schools that has conducted external evaluation, both with and without support of the national corps, and explore how it has been used and experienced by schools all over Norway.
Theoretically, both studies refer to Luhmann (2006), who assumes that decisions are primary elements within organizations, on which change processes can be identified. Feedback data (from tests, evaluations etc.) might have an impact on these decisions and their premises (which are communication structures, persons/staff and programs). Thus, there might be different strategies in using feedback data especially for school development.
Based on that theoretical background the paper focusses on the organizational changes resulting from the use of feedback information in the dimensions
- communication structure (e.g. meetings or conferences)
- persons/staff (e.g. involvement of staff)
- program (e.g. curriculum)
in schools in the countries Norway and Germany.
These theoretical dimensions from the Luhmanian model of decision premises are also the basis for the empirical analysis by using the premises as categories within the scope of the qualitative content analysis.
The results of the paper based on comparative case studies (Kroon & Sturm, 2000) from Norway and Germany. For the comparative case studies qualitative data from a German and a Norwegian study are involved. The German study based on a secondary analysis of longitudinal qualitative school case studies consisting of 351 problem-based interviews (in 28 schools from six states) with different school representatives resulting from three projects (2005-2013). The Norwegian study includes qualitative data from a case study consisting of four interviews, observations and document analyses in two schools during the implementation and follow-up of the evaluation, and two schools two years after the evaluation (2013-2015). In both studies we assess the interview data according to the qualitative content analysis by using categories (Mayring, 2000), which based on the design parameters of professional organizations, i.e. corresponding to the Luhmanian (2006) model of decision premises (that means communication structures, persons/staff and programs). This approach allows an insight into organizational changes or patterns of reorganization in school development. To ensure quality throughout the whole qualitative procedure, different methods of validation were deployed. Validity was checked by Cohens Kappa. This measured value indicates the interrater reliability (Cohen, 1960). Moreover, the evaluation procedure includes controlling validity by methods of consensual and argumentative validation.
Based on our codings the first findings show differences in both countries regarding the impact of data use on organizational structures (especially decisions and their premises). The relevance of this paper is particular evident in the international comparison: It explores the organizational school development in the context of school reforms (especially regarding data use) in two different low-stakes testing countries. Because of the higher structured and regulated Scandinavian educational system, in which school reform processes are much longer established, it is supposed that in Norway, compared to Germany, the school development in the consequence of data use is more pronounced. Additionally, our first findings indicate what helps and what hinders the use of feedback data to improve school development and, what may affect both decisions and consequences for school improvement (e.g. changes in the school program or decision-making for organization or staff development). These results may contribute to the recent scientific discussion about data use in school organizations in order to improve them. Moreover, we can show on a methodical level the opportunities and limitations of comparative case studies (e.g. combining data from different qualitative studies, analysis and interpretation of the differences and similarities) especially between two countries.
Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. In: Educational and Psychological Measurement 20 (1). Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. In: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/ Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(2), Art. 20. Kroon, S. & Sturm, J (2000). Comparative Case study Research in Education. Methodological Issuues in an Empirical-Interpretative Perspective. In: Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Jg.3. H 4, S.559-576. Luhmann, N. (2006). Organisation und Entscheidung. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag. 2. Aufl. Mausethagen, S., Prøitz, T., & Skedsmo, G. (2017). Teachers’ use of knowledge sources in ‘result meetings’: thin data and thick data use. Teachers and Teaching, 1-13. Thiel, F. (2008). Die Organisation der Bildung - eine Zumutung für die Profession? In Y. Ehrenspeck, G. de Haan, F. Thiel & L. Kajetzke (Hrsg.), Bildung: Angebot oder Zumutung? (S. 211–228). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. van Ackeren, I., Heinrich, M. & Thiel, F. (Hrsg.). (2013). Evidenzbasierte Steuerung im Bildungssystem? Befunde aus dem BMBF-SteBis-Verbund (Die Deutsche Schule, Beiheft 12). Münster: Waxmann.
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