From inspection to quality: Ways in which school inspection influences change in schools

J. E. Gustafsson*, M. C.M. Ehren, G. Conyngham, G. McNamara, H. Altrichter, J. O'Hara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Inspection is employed by most European education systems as an instrument for controlling and promoting the quality of schools. Yet there is little research knowledge about how inspection drives the improvement of schools. The study reports on surveys to principals in primary and secondary education in six European countries to attempt to clarify how school inspection impacts on the improvement of schools. Based on an analysis of principals' perceptions the evidence suggests that inspection primarily drives change indirectly, through encouraging certain developmental processes, rather than through more direct coercive methods. Inspectorates that set clear expectations and standards have an impact on the increased utilization of self-evaluation and on developing the capacity of schools to improve in a variety of ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalStudies in Educational Evaluation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Accountability
  • External evaluation
  • School effectiveness
  • School improvement
  • School inspection
  • School self-evaluation


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