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The Evidence Base for School Inspection Frameworks

Jaap Scheerens, Melanie Ehren


This article describes how Inspectorates of Education operationalize different inspection goals (control, improvement, liaison) in their inspection indicator frameworks. The paper provides an overview and examples of the indicators used across a number of countries and how these are incorporated in inspection frameworks to evaluate and assess schools with the purpose of control, improvement and liaison. We shall describe the inspection and assessment of the processes and results of schooling (which includes making expert judgements), and compare and contrast them with inspection frameworks that focus on controlling input requirements and checking compliance to legislation. We will discuss the value and adequateness of different frameworks in the light of recent school effectiveness research. The results collected suggested that teaching/instruction level conditions, such as high expectations, a challenging teaching approach, an orderly learning environment and clear and structured teaching are more important than school level conditions in improving student achievement. Most inspectorates however do not explicitly evaluate teaching or teachers on a classroom/subject or grade level, preferring instead to evaluate school level conditions and general instruction characteristics or teaching patterns such as learning time, school leadership and school climate. A final «council» to further and future developments of national school inspection frameworks is therefore the relative emphasis on school organizational as compared to teaching and learning, or didactic standards. A prudent warning could be for designers and adaptors of inspection frameworks not to lose sight of the primary process of teaching and learning.


European countries; Evidence base research; Inspection indicator; School effectiveness; School inspection; Efficacia della scuola; Indicatori dell’ispezione; Ispezione scolastica; Paesi Europei; Ricerca basata sull’evidenza

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2015-012-sche


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Giuditta Alessandrini - Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi