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Title: A study of the introduction of school self-evaluation into primary schools in Singapore and England
Author: Chia, Sook May Ivy
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This study examines the incorporation of school self-examination into government-mandated school inspection systems in England and Singapore. Both countries have recently overhauled their inspection systems avowedly to expand choice for parents, ensure high standards and hold schools accountable in return for devolving power. In England, schools present a self-evaluation in their own choice of format as the core element of their submission to Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspectors, whose job is then to interrogate schools’ findings. In Singapore, the Ministry of Education (MOE) obliges all schools to perform a standard Singapore Excellence Model (SEM) self-evaluation, which is validated by inspectors, while schools’ results on this measure are tied to a number of awards. Fieldwork was conducted between 2004 and 2007. Research aimed to determine what effect the inspectorates’ new arrangements for self-evaluation had on schools. Did teachers’ and managers’ experience on the ground match the expectations of policymakers? What difficulties did schools have with the arrangements, and particularly, did the shorter and less apparently confrontational mode of assessment remove some of the problems previously reported? The study’s method is to sample a broad range of six schools in each country through case studies, before submitting the qualitative data gathered through interviews and school documentation to thematic analysis. The study found the forms of self-evaluation practiced in schools under the new inspection mandates were barely, if at all, informed by the self-evaluation discourses in the literature, which stress reflexive learning, autonomy and teachers’ professionalism. Schools continued to ‘stage’ inspection results, construing their preparation for inspectors’ visits as separate from their ordinary educational activities. While, particularly in England, the new arm’s-length arrangements had aimed at improving regulators’ relations with schools, heads and staff continued to see inspection as a technology of control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral