RE: Αξιολόγηση εκπαιδευτικών

Το παρακάτω είναι ένα απόσπασμα (σελ. 27-28) από το άρθρο «What’s wrong with accountability by the numbers» του R. Rothstein στο περιοδικό American Educator. Περιγράφει το σύστημα επιθεωρητών σχολείων της Μεγάλης Βρετανίας, που θυμίζει αρκετά το σώμα αξιολογητών που θέσπιζε ο νόμος Αρσένη το 1997 (που αντικαταστάθηκε από άλλο νόμο επί Ευθυμίου, ο οποίος και αυτός παρέμεινε ανεφάρμοστος).

Other nations have also struggled with accountability for public education. Yet while Americans have relied upon test scores alone—and even worse, proficiency cut scores—to judge school quality, others have supplemented standardized testing with school inspection systems that attempt to assess whether students are developing a balanced set of cognitive and noncognitive knowledge and skills. While England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Portugal, France, and New Zealand9 all have some form of inspection system, Her Majesty’s Inspectors in England offer us a particularly intriguing model because they hold schools and other social welfare institutions accountable for education and youth development.

Because the English inspection system continually undergoes revision, the following describes the English inspectorate as it existed until 2005, when a major revision commenced.

Accountability is overseen by an independent government department, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). In the early part of this decade it had a corps of about 6,000 inspectors who visited schools and wrote reports on their quality. Most inspectors, usually retired school principals or teachers, were directly employed by a dozen or so firms with which Ofsted contracted to conduct the inspections. An elite group, about 200 of “Her Majesty’s Inspectors” (HMIs), were employed directly by Ofsted and oversaw the entire process. Ofsted trained the contracted inspectors, required them to attend annual retrainings,
and certified them prior to employment. Ofsted also assured the reliability of inspectors’ judgments by having several inspectors judge the same educational activity and then comparing their ratings. Ofsted monitored the inspectors’ work and removed those
whose quality was inadequate—for example, those who never found lessons to be unsatisfactory.10

To ensure quality, the leader of each school inspection team underwent a higher level of training than the other team members, and an HMI sometimes also participated in each larger
team of contracted inspectors. Ofsted also required each team to include one lay inspector, often a retiree from another profession, to give the inspections greater credibility with the public. Each inspection resulted in a report published on the Internet within three weeks; the report was mailed to every parent, with photocopies also made available to the public.11 In the case of schools that persistently failed to pass inspection, local governments assumed control and, in the most serious cases, closed them.12

Until 2005, a typical full-time English inspector may have visited from 15 to 30 schools each year, and part-time inspectors (usually retired principals) may have visited seven or eight.13
Because of this experience and their training, English inspectors were highly respected by teachers and principals, who were thus more likely to take inspectors’ advice seriously and consider inspectors’ evaluations legitimate. Ofsted inspectors were required to spend most of their time observing classroom teaching, interviewing students about their understanding, and examining random samples of student work.14 Ofsted inspectors decided which students to interview and which classrooms to visit at any particular time.15 Although they spent relatively little time meeting with administrators, Ofsted inspectors did require principals to accompany them on some classroom observations, after which the inspectors asked the principals for their own evaluations of the lessons. In this way, the inspectors were able to make judgments (which became part of their reports) about the competence with which the principals supervised instruction.16

Ofsted’s contracted inspectors observed every teacher in each school, evaluating pupil achievement in all academic as well as in noncognitive areas.17 Ofsted inspectors rated everything they observed, including teaching skill, student participation, achievement, and academic progress, on a seven-point scale, with supporting paragraphs justifying the ratings. They also wrote reports on student assemblies, playground practice, school cafeteria quality,
student behavior in hallways, the range of extracurricular activities, and the quality of physical facilities.18

Ofsted reports also evaluated how well schools teach not only academic knowledge and skills but personal development : “the extent to which learners enjoy their work, the acquisition of workplace skills, the development of skills which contribute to the social and economic well-being of the learner, the emotional development of learners, the behaviour of learners, the attendance of learners, the extent to which learners adopt safe practices and a healthy lifestyle, learners’ spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, [and] whether learners
make a positive contribution to the community.”19

Inspections used to be every six years, but then Ofsted changed them to every three years20 and became more flexible about the frequency of inspections. As the system developed,
schools with a history of very high ratings were visited less frequently, with smaller teams, and without every classroom and teacher visited. Schools with a history of poor ratings were visited more often and more intensively.21

In recent years, Ofsted added on inspections of early childhood care providers and vocational education programs, and evaluations of how well schools coordinate their own programs with such services. When possible, Ofsted conducts inspections of schools and other child and welfare services in the same community simultaneously.22

Ofsted has made no effort to produce fine rankings of schools by which the public could judge each school in comparison with all others. Rather, Ofsted has reported which of three categories schools fall into: those that pass inspection, those in need of fairly modest improvements, and those requiring serious intervention to correct deficiencies.

In addition to regular school inspections, the English system has also included special inspections to evaluate particular problems or curricular areas—for example, music instruction, physical education, the underachievement of minority students, or disparate punishments meted out to them.23 For these, HMIs visited only a representative group of schools. There were enough of these special inspections, however, that schools were likely to have experienced an inspection for some purpose more frequently than was required by the regular schedule.24

9. Melanie C. M. Ehren and A. J. Visscher, “The Relationships Between School Inspections, School Characteristics, and School Improvement,” British Journal of Educational Studies 56, no. 2 (2008): 205–227.
10. Peter Matthews and Pam Sammons, Improvement Through Inspection: An Evaluation of the Impact of Ofsted’s Work (London: Institute of Education, University of London, and Office for Standards in Education [Ofsted], July 2004), 83–84.
11. Matthews and Sammons, Improvement Through Inspection, 9; Thomas A. Wilson, Reaching for a Better Standard: English School Inspection and the Dilemma of Accountability for American Public Schools (New York:Teachers College Press, 1996), 134; and Office for
Standards in Education (Ofsted), Every Child Matters: Framework for the Inspection of Schools in England from September 2005 (London: Ofsted, April 2008).
12. W. Norton Grubb, “Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching: Lessons from School Inspections in England,” Teachers College Record 102, no. 4 (2000):
696–723, 709.
13. Tim Brighouse (visiting professor of education at the Institute of Education, London University, former chief adviser to London Schools and former chief education officer for Birmingham), personal correspondence and telephone interview with author (various dates, and May 8, 2008).
14. Grubb, “Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching,” 701, 703; and Wilson, Reaching for a Better Standard, 127.
15. Grubb, “Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching,” 703; and Wilson, Reaching for a Better Standard, 71.
16. Brighouse, personal correspondence and telephone interview with author.
17. Matthews and Sammons, Improvement Through Inspection, 14, 34; and Grubb, “Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching,” 701.
18. Grubb, “Opening Classrooms and Improving Teaching,” 701; and Brighouse, personal correspondence and telephone interview with author.
19. Ofsted, Every Child Matters, 22.
20. Ofsted, Every Child Matters.
21. Brighouse, personal correspondence and telephone interview with author.
22. Ofsted, Every Child Matters, 9.
23. Matthews and Sammons, Improvement Through Inspection, 112, 108; and Rebecca Smithers, “Punishment for Black Pupils Appears Harsher: Watchdog’s Report Points to Inconsistency Over Exclusions,” Guardian, March 1, 2001.
24. Matthews and Sammons, Improvement Through Inspection, 150; Smithers, “Punishment for Black Pupils”; and Ofsted, Every Child Matters.