The unintended consequences of school inspection: the prevalence of inspection side-effects in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland
Oxford Review of Education
2017) 'The unintended consequences of school inspection : the prevalence of inspection side-eects in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.', Oxford review of education., 43 (6). pp. 805-822. The full-text may be used and/or reproduced, and given to third parties in any format or medium, without prior permission or charge, for personal research or study, educational, or not-for-prot purposes provided that: • a full bibliographic reference is
... ic reference is made to the original source • a link is made to the metadata record in DRO • the full-text is not changed in any way The full-text must not be sold in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders. Please consult the full DRO policy for further details. Abstract It has been widely documented that accountability systems, including school inspections, bring with them unintended side-effects. These unintended effects are often negative and have the potential to undo the intended positive effects. However the empirical evidence is limited. Through a European comparative study we have had the rare opportunity to collect empirical evidence and study the effects (both intended and unintended) of school inspections (a key system of accountability) in a systematic way, across seven countries. We present the findings of the unintended effects in this paper. Survey self-report responses from school principals in each country, with differing school inspection systems, are analysed to measure the prevalence of these unintended effects and to investigate the part played by pressure to do well in inspections. A key finding is that increasing pressure in school inspection systems is associated with the undesired effect of the narrowing and refocussing of the curriculum and instructional strategies. We also show that a proportion of school principals admit to misrepresenting the school in data sent to the inspectorate and show evidence for formalisation/proceduralisation (excessive focus on records) and ossification (fear of experimentation in teaching), although these factors are less related to changes in pressure.