The present study aims to explore how external evaluation of secondary schools held by international organization can ensure the continuous improvement and development. The research was conducted within the network of secondary schools in Kazakhstan named Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS). The focus group consists of 20 schools in different cities of the country that are considered as a platform for introducing educational reforms.
The external evaluation at NIS schools is conducted by means of international accreditation of Council of International Schools (Netherlands) for the last 5 years. It has to be mentioned that the accreditation of secondary schools is not widespread in Kazakhstan and is more relevant for private international schools or higher institutions. The reason for the lack of experience is that all secondary schools undertake obligatory attestation held by the Ministry of Education. However, the researched schools are free to choose other options of external evaluation due to the governance autonomy.
Within frames of the present study, there is an attempt to investigate the following research questions:
1) whether (and how) the process of international accreditation impact on the school improvement and development;
2) what changes the process leads to.
The main purpose of school evaluation (external or internal) is to monitor and improve the quality of school as a whole. It covers a broad range of school activity including teaching and learning, student outcomes, school management, resources and condition for effective teaching and learning and compliance with the regulations/standards. The safety and well-being of students and employers attracts special attention as well.
First of all, it has to be mentioned that there is a lack of researches about impact of any forms of external school evaluation (including accreditation) on school improvement. According to OECD data as of today the United Kingdom has any research tradition in this field. However, some European countries are committed to start researching this issue as well.
It is necessary to underline that there is a shift in external evaluation of schools. Now the main focus is not to comply with standards or criteria but rather improvement of teaching and learning quality.
In education, accreditation is considered as a tool that is used for monitoring and evaluation of education quality that schools provide to students. The word “accreditation” is rightly becoming a synonym of quality because the process includes thorough examination and thoughtful judgment. With its focus on quality and improvement, accreditation is indeed one of the most preferable means of quality assurance.
The main objective of conducting international accreditation at the focus group is to prompt schools to continuous improvement. NIS schools have passed 4 stages of international accreditation including 3 on-site visits and self-study. During the visits the schools get an external perspective not only on curriculum or teaching practice, but also on the whole-school activity such as conditions for learning and teaching, strategic planning and operational systems. The schools in its turn take necessary actions to improve defined problematic areas. Such kind of feedback gives an opportunity for schools to thoroughly analyze their current progress, define their strengths and areas for further improvement. The self-study practice is included into the most forms of external evaluation (inspection, audit or attestation). However, under the accreditation it is required to involve all school stakeholders. Thus, the research revealed the positive attitude of parents and students who were involved into the work of self-study steering committees.
Accreditation is not associated with the achievement of a status, but it is more concerned with an activity. The schools who apply for accreditation care about the education quality and strive for improving their progress.
In order to increase the reliability of research findings the mixed methods were applied. As a document review, the schools’ self-study reports (including schools’ development plan) which were prepared under CIS International Accreditation were analyzed. The report consisted of 3 parts where the schools evaluated themselves according to the accreditation standards and indicators. After self-study, CIS accreditation officers completed the report with their evaluations based on school visits and professional judgments. For the present study the completed self-study reports were considered. In addition, there was an online survey among teachers, students, parents and school management team who were involved into the preparation of the self-study for accreditation. The survey was done online and included open-ended and multiple choice questions. It must be underlined that the overwhelming majority of participants responded to the survey which enabled to rely on valid results. Besides, all 20 schools have been periodically visited to monitor the accreditation impact. The onsite observation of schools’ activity enabled to see whether and how the researched schools address the areas for further improvement that were defined in the report. The document review, survey and observation enabled to validate the findings by means of triangulation.
The research revealed that the secondary schools recognized the positive impact of international accreditation and consider it as a tool that can be used to improve the whole-school activity. Besides, teachers, students and parents who took part in the study shared a common view that active involving of all stakeholders into the process of school improvement creates a trust-based relationship. Parents were especially pleased to share their perspective on school issues. It was discovered that in some cases the schools hesitated to define its strengths due to the lack of confidence. However, the on-site visits and feedback from peer reviewers spotted the positive practice at place. The school community agreed that the multi-stage process of accreditation and its cyclic form motivate them to strive for better results. The present study has aimed to make initial investigation of the international accreditation impact on school improvement. Nevertheless, during the research there were many findings that can be considered as a proof of positive influence. In future it is planned to make the present research longitudinal as it is based on the first cycle of international accreditation. In 5-years, there will be made the second part of the study which will include the comparison of the improvement among schools that complete the 2 cycles of international accreditation. It is believed that exploring the accreditation impact on secondary school improvement and the research findings may make contribution to deepening the knowledge in this area. Besides, the findings of the present study will be used as a basis to propose introducing changes to the current school external evaluation procedure that exist in the educational system of the country.
Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment, OECD, 2013 Ehren M.C.M. and A.J. Visscher, The relationship between school inspections, school characteristics and school improvement, British Journal of Educational Studies, 2008 European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, Assuring Quality in Education: Policies and Approaches to School Evaluation in Europe. Eurydice Report, 2015 Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, http://edu.gov.kz Michael Fertig, International school accreditation. Between a rock and a hard place?, Journal of Research in International Education, 2007 Earl Hutchinson, State Secondary-School Accreditation Problems Tomoko Tokunaga & Beth Douthirt-Cohen, The Ongoing Pursuit of Educational Equity in Japan: The Accreditation of ethnic high schools, equity & excellence in education, 2012 Бишимбаев В.К., Нурашева К.К., Аккредитационный процесс в Казахстане: государственное регулирование, процедуры и перспективы, 2012 Henk Van Berkel, Wynand Wijnen, Accreditation in the Netherlands: does accountability improve educational quality?, Research in Comparative and International Education, 2010 Stephen Romine, Accreditation and Educational Reform, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, 1972 Gregory R. Anrig, The New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and Accreditation of the Small Secondary School (1963) Accreditation, Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, 34:4, 35-36, Nilufer Ulker & Aysen Bakioglu, An international research on the influence of accreditation on academic quality, Studies in Higher Education, 2018 Valikhan Bishimbayev, Kulyanda Nurasheva, Accreditation process in Kazakhstan: state regulation, procedures and prospects, the 7th European quality assurance forum (EQAF), 2012 Cooper Stuart, Parkes Carole, Blewitt John, Can accreditation help a leopard change its spots?: Social accountability and stakeholder engagement in business schools, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 2014 Prabha Ramseook-Munhurrun, Pushpa Nundlall, Service quality measurement for secondary school setting, Quality Assurance in Education, 2013
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.