26 SES 14 B, The Role of Evaluative Judgement and Leadership in Evidence-Oriented School Development and Improvement
Throughout Europe evidence-oriented quality management systems were established in the school systems in the paste decades and gained importance in order to develop and improve schools. The concept of a reflective development orientation fundamentally corresponds as a paradigm with the purpose of quality development of schools and teaching (Wurster, Richter, Schliesing, & Pant, 2013) and stands aloof from the “paradigm of control” (Terhart, 2002, p. 63). It asks for a systematic and systemic, autonomous quality development in each single school, drawing on external and internal evidences. This process triggers a “cyclical movement” (Schratz, Iby, & Radnitzky, 2000, p. 10), which leads upwards in the form of a spiral (ibid.), in case it is successful. Evidence-oriented quality development of schools and teaching brings together internal and external evidence and does not accept the widespread misconception that externally collected data and information about a school or about teaching in a school should be interpreted as a mere outside evaluation (Specht, 2002).
A core aspect is quality, what it is, how it is defined, how it is referred to, how it is measured and how results are interpreted and used. The use requires a special, professional gestalt of leadership and evaluative judgement. Reference frameworks can help to find a common perspective on what quality means in a specific context, for example in the context of school quality. How people in their professional roles work with evidence in quality development and improvement processes is highly determined by their skills and mindset. Boud et al. (2018) discuss evaluative judgement as a key competence for university graduates. We argue that in a system of evidence-oriented quality development and optimization this claim applies to all players involved – teachers, school principals, members of the school authorities. Evaluative judgement is therefore a key concept within the paradigm of evidence-oriented quality development.
Similar to many other European countries, the importance of evidence-oriented quality development in schools has increased substantially in the past years in the three countries that are part of this symposium, Germany, Austria, and Italy. The symposium comprises three insights into challenges that countries face in the context of quality development in schools. On the one hand, the three examples show quite a lot of commonalities in the approaches: Ability and willingness to reflect and to cooperate as well as to concern oneself with the results, but also with the (often methodological) boundaries of the underlying data prove to be prerequisites in all countries. How processes of quality development are embedded in the whole system of players in the field of schools and the school system is crucial to the chances and risks that come with it. Furthermore, support structures, and how the collaboration across different hierarchical levels is designed and implemented, but also the ways, in which roles are fulfilled, are of critical importance. On the other hand, the examples from the three countries show specific differences in the challenges and problems that have to be mastered. The contributions in the symposium shed light on these commonalities and differences from various perspectives and by using different methodological approaches.
Boud, D., Ajjawi, R., Dawson, P. & Tai, J. (Eds.). (2018). Developing Evaluative Judgement in Higher Education. Assessment for Knowing and Producing Quality Work. Abindgdon & New York: Routledge. Schratz, M., Iby, M., & Radnitzky, E. (2000). Qualitätsentwicklung. Verfahren, Methoden, Instrumente. Weinheim: Beltz. Specht, W. (2002). Überlegungen zur Instituationalisierung zentraler Funktionen der Qualitätsentwicklung und Qualitätssicherung auf nationaler Ebene. In F. Eder, P. Posch, M. Schratz, W. Specht, & J. Thonhauser (Eds.), Qualtitäsentwicklung und Qualitätssicherung im österreichischen Schulwesen (p. 423-441). Innsbruck: StudienVerlag. Terhart, E. (2002). Nach PISA: Bildungsqualität entwickeln. Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt. Wurster, S., Richter, D., Schliesing, A., & Pant, H. A. (2013). Nutzung unterschiedlicher Evaluationsdaten an Berliner und Brandenburger Schulen. Rezeption und Nutzung von Ergebnissen aus Schulinspektion, Vergleichsarbeiten und interner Evaluation im Vergleich. Die deutsche Schule. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Bildungspolitik und pädagogische Praxis. Themenheft, 12, 19-50.
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