DOI link for School evaluation
School evaluation book
This chapter will begin by providing an overview of the key trends and directions in school evaluation in the recent past. Following an exploration of the main imperatives currently framing school evaluation internationally, the chapter will explicate the manner in which accountability in neo-liberal times is impacting the practice of school evaluation in five countries – England, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Spain. The issue of terminology in current usage with respect to evaluation is also problematised. The discourse in scholarship, in evaluation frameworks and in practice, is somewhat ambivalent with regard to the terminology with evaluation and inspection sitting side by side in such a way that conflates both. It is worth noting at this point that the five countries reviewed in this chapter represent very different approaches to school evaluation particularly when viewed through the lens of accountability. England could be viewed as the mother ship of high-stakes, performativity-focussed types of evaluation or ‘the social laboratory of neoliberal education’ (Ball, 2016, p. 1047). The now somewhat notorious Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) has mediated evaluation practices for many years. Ireland follows with a range of recently reformed evaluation frameworks, and, while not as severe as England in terms of the impact that evaluative outcomes can have, the stakes are rising and the impact of all forms of evaluation in Ireland is gathering momentum. Both England and Ireland would be viewed as having more established inspectorates and more longitudinal practice with respect to evaluation. Recently the Standing International Conference of National and Regional Inspectorates of Education (SICI) has noted a significant rise in the number of countries developing school evaluation systems and that that developing inspectorates are looking to these more established systems. Of 9the ‘newer’ countries represented in this chapter only Norway is a member of SICI; however, Poland, Spain and Norway have engaged in some level of reform in school evaluation in the recent past. An exploration of the manner in which these developing systems mediate neoliberal forms of accountability will conclude this chapter.