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School improvement through inspections? First empirical insights from Germany

Abstract

Since the late 1990s, broad discussions on education and educational quality have given impetus to the implementation of many new measures aimed at the improvement of schools in Germany. In this context, school inspections have been introduced in all 16 German federal states during the last 6 years. In the meantime, scientific research into the functioning of this steering instrument has begun. In this article, first empirical findings on the effects of school inspections in Germany are presented by drawing on a survey study with 468 principals of schools in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia that were externally evaluated during the years 2005 to 2008. Findings indicate that school inspection results are considered by a large group of stakeholders within schools and that they are discussed in different settings. In many schools, development measures have already been planned and implemented. Moreover, first effects are perceived in different fields. On the whole, findings agree with the results of two thematically related German studies but draw a less heterogeneous picture than the international research context.

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Correspondence to Kathrin Dedering.

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Dedering, K., Müller, S. School improvement through inspections? First empirical insights from Germany. J Educ Change 12, 301–322 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-010-9151-9

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Keywords

  • School development research
  • School improvement
  • School inspections
  • School quality debate
  • Survey study