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Inspecting school inspections: Describing and explaining (un)intended effects

The effects of external evaluation of educational institutions are subject to much debate, although they have only scarcely been subject of elaborate and fundamental research. There is very few research on the questions as to which quality aspects should be taken into account to assess the effects of school inspections, and as to what the expectations are of different stakeholders on what the effects of inspection on schools should be. The same holds for the assumptions on which the rationale for school inspections is built upon. Furthermore, the existing research findings are not consistent. Finally, a comprehensive conceptual framework that would allow the study of the effects of inspection on schools is currently not yet available. The following research proposal aims to fill this knowledge gap by developing the necessary theoretical knowledge base. This study will explore, build and test hypotheses on the effect of school inspections in the context of the Flemish educational system. It will (1) investigate the expectations of different stakeholders towards the effects of school inspections; (2) determine indicators that enable the assessment of the effect of inspections on schools; (3) Assess to what extent inspections have an effect on schools and what (un)intended effects can be discerned; and finally, (4), explain differences in the effect of inspections on schools. Effects of the school inspection will be linked with the reactions of schools, which are based on features of the inspection itself and features of the inspected schools. Given the complexity of the field of school inspections and the fact that the research domain is currently still poorly conceptualised, a well-conceived and diverse set of research methodologies and research activities will be used. This multi-method approach includes data collection through literature study, a Delphi study, written surveys and case studies. The research is divided into an explorative, a theoretical and an empirical research phase.
Date:1 Jul 2011  →  31 Dec 2015
Disciplines:Education curriculum, Education systems, General pedagogical and educational sciences, Instructional sciences, Specialist studies in education, Other pedagogical and educational sciences