09 SES 14 A, Assessing Quality Management, Evaluation Feedback, and Professional Capital in Education
Like many other European countries Austria is currently implementing a nationwide Quality Management System for schools (QMS; https://www.qms.at/). Its aim is systematic and targeted school and teaching development based on a quality circle of plan–do–check–adjust (PDCA, ‘Shewhart Cycle’) and thus similar to other countries, especially some German Länder with which there is also a continuous exchange. The most important features are the introduction of a mandatory quality framework for all schools as well as an increased data or evidence orientation in school and teaching development in general. QMS-tools include the definition of a school’s pedagogical guiding principles, a school development plan, a balance and target agreement meeting between the principal and the regional school quality manager (formerly ‘school inspector’) and a quality handbook. To support the data orientation, an internet platform with several hundred instruments for internal evaluation was provided. Formerly different quality management programs for general and vocational schools (and thus different traditions and instruments) are being merged into QMS.
The implementation process and the diffusion of the QMS and its elements into the school system are formatively evaluated in an accompanying process (Rossi et al., 2019; Stockmann, 2011). The overall objective of this evaluation is the generation of knowledge for the optimization of the implementation process as well as its monitoring and documentation of progress.
The theoretical background of this research is based on Rogers’ (2003) ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ describing typical stages of immersion. Accordingly, knowledge of the innovation is the starting point, in concrete knowledge of the QMS model, which should subsequently lead to a positive attitude or acceptance (persuasion). The next stages are the informed decision of the actors to adopt the innovation (decision) and the actual implementation, which in the best case leads to reinforcement and confirmation. Coburn (2003) focuses attention on the depth of change, its sustainability and ownership in the medium and long term, although these are of little importance in the initial phase. A closer look at the context of implementation and the creation of necessary framework conditions follows the approach of implementation research (Petermann, 2014).
The design of the evaluation and the underlying theoretical assumptions lead to the following three guiding questions:
- How deeply has the nationwide Quality Management System already diffused into everyday school life?
- How can the implementation process be further promoted and supported?
- Are there different patterns in this respect in different school sectors, specifically between general education and vocational education?
According to the underlying model of Utilization-Focused Evaluation (Patton, 1997, 2000), the detailed questions are defined in the further course of the evaluation in close coordination with the persons responsible for QMS.
In a first step all 43 quality regional coordinators were surveyed using an online questionnaire. The survey focused on the challenges of their work, the need for support and their perceptions of the implementation of QMS to date in terms of Diffusion at school level, Acceptance, and Realization processes. Results showed high acceptance of QMS among respondents, a high level of satisfaction with support from the ministry, but the diffusion at school level is not yet perceived as very far advanced. The next step is a survey of a representative sample of school principals and quality school coordinators using adapted versions of A-SEW (Carmignola et al., 2021) with the dimensions of meaningfulness, usefulness, and practicality of innovation. Individual items from the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (George et al., 2006) also provide information on personal aspects of implementation. Other content-related aspects refer to supportive and obstructive framework conditions including support and training needs as well as possible need for improvement of the available material. First indications of non-intended effects of the QMS introduction (e.g. Landwehr, 2015) are also to be obtained in order to be able to take countermeasures if necessary.
First results will be available in August 2023. Data will be analysed using descriptive statistics for getting an overview and inferential statistics to examine differences between educational sectors. In addition, (multilevel) regression models will provide explanations and cluster analyses will help in defining tailored support for schools by identifying schools with similar characteristics. Once the findings are available, answering the research questions will provide the persons/institution(s) responsible for and steering the implementation process of QMS with data/knowledge to optimize the processes and provide appropriate support.
Carmignola, M., Hofmann, F. & Gniewosz, B. (2021). Entwicklung und Validierung einer Kurzskala zur Einschätzung der Akzeptanz von Schulentwicklungsprojekten (A-SEW). Diagnostica, 67(4), 163–175. Coburn, C. (2003). Rethinking Scale: Moving Beyond Numbers to Deep and Lasting Change. Educational Researcher, 32(6), 3–12. George, A. A., Hall, G. E., & Stiegelbauer, S. M. (2006). Measuring implementation in schools: The stages of concern questionnaire. SEDL Landwehr, N. (2015). Die institutionelle und kulturelle Verankerung des Feedbacks. In: Buhren, C. G. (Ed.). Handbuch Feedback in der Schule. Weinheim Basel: Beltz. Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-Focused Evaluation: The New Century Text. Thousand Oaks; London; New Delhi: Sage Publications. Patton, M. Q. (2000). Utilization-focused evaluation. In: Stufflebeam, D.L., Madaus, G.F., Kellaghan, T. (Eds.) Evaluation Models: Viewpoints on Educational and Human Services Evaluation (pp. 425-438). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Petermann, F. (2014). Implementationsforschung: Grundbegriffe und Konzepte. Psychologische Rundschau, 65(3), 122–128. Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. New York: The Free Press. Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W. & Henry, G. T. (2019). Evaluation: a systematic approach (Eighth edition.). Los Angeles: SAGE. Stockmann, R. (Hrsg.). (2011). A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation. Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
- 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.