Enquiry into the side effects of school inspection in a low-stakes inspection context
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Research papers in education. - London
, p. 462-482
University of Antwerp
This article describes a qualitative study into the occurrence of the side effects of school inspection through in-depth interviews in five case schools. The study investigates the extent to which strategic activities, disturbing effects and emotional side effects occur in the case schools. The study also aims to understand features that may explain these side effects. Most research to date has been conducted in England, which is considered a high-stakes inspection context whilst low-stakes inspection contexts are generally regarded as causing fewer undesirable side effects. This hypothesis, however, is not confirmed by the results of this study. Although the Flemish education context provides a low-stakes inspection context, schools in this study engage strongly in strategic activities to produce a better image of the school and school staff members suffer from severe emotional side effects due to the inspection. By contrast, only limited disturbing effects on normal school life were observed. These side effects are affected by principals attitude towards the inspection, by schools perception of inspectors behaviour and by the inspection judgement. The article includes a discussion of the impact on side effects of several particularities of the Flemish education context, such as the absence of central examinations.