The educational sphere can be considered fundamental for the existence and development of nations as it prepares people who will take an active part in the functioning of multiple social institutions. For this reason, it has been given significant attention with the primary goal to create the most effective approach and ensure that learners and provided with knowledge in sufficient ways. Today, the quality of education remains a relevant theme for the majority of states.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proclaims the continuous improvement in this sector one of the prior goals and looks for effective measures to accomplish this task (Nusche et al. 8). In this regard, school evaluation, as one of the quality improvement tools, acquires the top priority because of the opportunity to determine negative tendencies or ineffective tools and replace them with new ones.
In general, assessment is an integral part of any process as it helps to achieve better outcomes. Regarding the educational sphere, school evaluation can be determined as the process of assessing and appraising some aspects of the teaching and learning process, including its most significant elements. It has two interlinked purposes, which are improvement and accountability (Faubert 7). In other words, school evaluation is focused on the elimination of gaps between low-performing and high-performing schools, and enhancement of learners’ performance (Hajdukova et al. 6).
At the same time, school accountability helps to provide policy-makers with the information about the current state of the sector, the existing costs, standards, and demands for them to introduce appropriate changes in regulations. The presence of these two aspects of school evaluation helps to create a capable paradigm characterised by improved data collection and its processing to increase the main actors’ awareness regarding the positive change.
The importance of school evaluation encompasses several factors. First, as it comes from the definition above, it becomes the primary source of critical and relevant information about the functioning of educational establishments and problems they have at the moment. The given knowledge can be primarily employed to establish a legal basis for reforms and justify their implementation to the sector (Nusche et al.).
Second, school evaluation remains the central and the most effective improvement tool that is employed by stakeholders with the primary goal to create the desired environment and guarantee that learners will acquire the level of knowledge and skills needed to achieve success in contemporary society.
These two underlying assumptions can be used to justify the unique importance of school evaluation and the existence of national quality assessment systems in all OECD countries. The establishment of a useful framework for conducting this task promotes the improvement of school performance via the enhanced data collection and its use to respond to appearing trends.
Internal evaluation is one of the forms of school assessment and a positive change facilitator. The benefits of this process are seen as primarily for schools, teachers, and learners with the pivotal aim of the improvement of teaching, management, and provision of knowledge in the school environment (Faubert 11). Specific school boards are responsible for educational quality, supervision, and monitoring of the situation in units to introduce alterations that will help to avoid critical deterioration of the establishment’s outcomes or students’ academic successes (Faubert 12).
In such a way, the role of the internal evaluation and supervision becomes significant as it serves as the primary approach utilised by specialists working in a particular school to improve their work. The national assessment systems offer specific guides, tests, and strategies that can help to conduct this investigation and acquire relevant results (Scheerens xi). It evidences the critical importance of this process.
External evaluation is another aspect of a national quality assessment system that monitors the functioning of the educational sphere. It follows several purposes: to guarantee that the selected school works regarding the established standards, determine students’ academic successes and the level of knowledge, check the work of educators and their competence (Faubert 8). Typically, it is concerned with both processes and results of a unit, and evaluators have specific criteria that should be applied.
Additionally, the scope of external evaluation depends on the factor that should be investigated, and the current state of the establishment (Faubert 10). There is credible evidence demonstrating the existence of the positive correlation between accountability and evaluation systems and student outcomes or the overall results of schools (Faubert 46). It means that external evaluation remains a sufficient tool to improve performance and eliminate critical flaws.
In such a way, both external and internal evaluation should be considered critically important methods that provide investigators and educators with the vision of the whole process, its peculiarities, advantages, and existing flaws. The correct use of this information is a key to the alignment of the adequate and sufficient work of the whole system.
The positive results of the assessment can be used to create some generalised approaches to the organisation of the work of establishments when the negative ones should be discussed to find ways to solve problems and avoid critical deterioration of the situation. Moreover, facts acquired during the assessment can be outlined to educators to enhance their awareness of the flaws in their work and help to engage in quality improvement incentives.
The positive correlation between school evaluation and outcomes become evident. OECD countries accept this idea and devote significant attention and resources to the alignment of their assessment systems as the basic quality improvement tools. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that the comprehensive assessment promotes an improved understanding of existing problems and initiates debates and problem-solving activities (Kools).
The given paradigm should not be considered a part of punishment system that is utilised to provide penalties to low-performing schools; on the contrary, modern school evaluation follows the prior goal to improve the work of particular units and the whole system in general (Oertel et al. 61). For this reason, OECD nations foster the evolution of assessment methods and their integration into the education system.
Altogether, the investigation evidences the critical importance of school evaluation and its contribution to the development of the whole sphere. Both internal and external assessments help to acquire vital data about the functioning of units, their advantages, flaws, and current problems. The availability of this sort of data helps to initiate discussion of the existing issues and create a framework that promotes continuous improvement.
For this reason, school evaluation can be determined as the leading quality improvement tool that cultivates better school performance and better outcomes. The existing national assessment systems in OECD countries guarantee the in-depth analysis of all vital factors and formulation of conclusions that will be used as the basis for the future growth of the sector.
Faubert, Violaine. “School Evaluation: Current Practices in OECD Countries and a Literature Review.” OECD Education Working Papers, no. 42, 2009, pp.1-59. Web.
Hajdukova, Viera, et al. “OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes. Country Background report for the Slovak Republic.” OECD, 2012. Web.
Kools, Marco. “Developing a Comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation System.” OECD, 2019. Web.
Nusche, Deborah, et al. “OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education.” Udir, 2011. Web.
Oertel, Lutz, et al. “Quality Framework for School Evaluation and Consequences for School Design and Assessment.” OECD, 2005. Web.
Scheerens, Jaap, et al. “OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes. Country Background Report for the Netherlands.” OECD, 2012. Web.