23 SES 14 A, How Do School Inspections Aim to Further School Improvement?
There are many different approaches to school inspections in Europe, fitting national goals and contexts. Several researchers have developed typologies that categorize these different approaches (Standaert, 1999; Whitby, 2010). This paper presents a conceptual model in which the program theories (Leuuw 2003) of different types of school inspections in seven European countries are summarized. The model specifies the assumptions in these countries on how inspection is supposed to work and the effects it should have. It includes a summary synthesis of these program theories and is based on documentary analysis and interviews with inspectors. Results include: Inspections seek to have schools and their stakeholders align their expectations to the standards in the inspection framework. Schools should act on these expectations and use the inspection feedback when conducting self-evaluations and when taking improvement actions. Stakeholders should use the standards and the public report on the school’s functioning against these standards to take actions that will motivate the school to improve. Both improvement actions and self-evaluations by schools are expected to build capacity to improve that will lead to more effective teaching and learning conditions. These conditions are expected to result in high student achievement.
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