School inspection is a central instrument for monitoring and improving school quality in more than 60 countries around the world. However, across these many countries, there is a great deal of variation. The processes followed, information gathered, and the consequences attached to inspection reports all vary greatly. For example, in some cases, findings by inspectors are high stakes; the findings and recommendations are binding, made available for the public, and may result in job losses or other sanctions to be incurred by the school community. In other cases, inspectors act more as advisors to school leaders with limited means to enforce change.
Comparing several countries, our study focuses on two questions: 1) We are interested on the decision-making process of school inspectors and which sources guide their thinking? 2) Whose expertise or which kind of expertise counts or doesn’t count. To focus specifically on accountability pressure, we analyze three contrasting cases - Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany. Argentina has a very low-stakes system. The Netherlands has strong accountability where inspectors follow a series of standards for legal aspects, quality processes and outcomes, and the inspection results are publicly available. Finally, a moderate-stakes system exists in Germany. After the inspection takes place, schools are tasked to negotiate target agreements with school authorities.
The study draws on the sensemaking approach (Weick 1995; Spillane et al. 2002) to understand the decision-making of school inspectors and to learn more about the information used during the inspection. Furthermore, the paper draws on justification theory (Boltanski & Thévenot 2007) to analyze how school inspectors explain their decisions. Twenty-two semi-structured interviews with school inspectors in the three countries were coded and analyzed using both deductive and inductive codes. Data were coded according to Miles and Huberman’s (1994) approach to qualitative analysis by looking at patterns and themes within and across individual responses.
Preliminary results show that the school inspectorates utilize different proceedings and they rely on different information when they evaluate schools: For example, in the case of Germany (moderate case), a team of inspectors apply standardized indicators to classroom observations. Whereas in Argentina, individual inspectors focus primarily on providing ongoing support to and judgements on school quality might even be co-constructed with school leaders. This research will contribute to our understanding of school inspection and the ways accountability pressure shape the process and outcomes.
Boltanski L, Thévenot L. 2007. Über die Rechtfertigung. Eine Soziologie der kritischen Urteilskraft. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Spillane JP, Reiser B, Reimer T. 2002. Policy Implementation and Cognition: Reframing and Refocusing Implementation Research. Review of Educational Research 72 (387-431) Weick KE. 1995. Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.