How do pupils experience a school inspection? : An insight into the reality of a school inspection tool

Previous research on external school development instruments such as a school inspection only marginally addresses the importance of the self-representation dimension and its manifestations. Consequently, this aspect of social reality has not yet been systematically incorporated into the theory of school development. From critical perspectives on school development instruments, however, it is consistently concluded that self-representation and even deception must necessarily take place in this context. The present research exemplary explore the behavior and experience of people in an external test situation. The chosen approach explores pupils’ perspective on school inspection (study 1: interviews; study 2: written survey; study 3: experiment). We try to get clues about the actual behavior of schools with regard to a school inspection as a significant school development tool to contribute to a deeper understanding of the social processes. An understanding of the self-representation dimension can differentiate previous research results in this area and, in the long term, processes could be designed to make school inspections more congruent with reality.  This could also benefit the modalities of other external inspection procedures.

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