What is school inspection for?: The assumptive worlds of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate
2013 (English)In: NERA 41st Congress, 7-9 March 2013, Reykjavik, Iceland, Reykjavik: University of Iceland , 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
In Europe and some of the Nordic countries school inspection is now a policy and practice governing education in one way or another. Central to inspection practice are the inspectors and managers at different levels of the Inspectorate and their 'assumptive worlds' (Marshall, Mitchell & Wirt 1985), i.e. their notions of the purpose of inspection, of how inspection should be and is carried out, and of the effect/influence of school inspection. This paper concentrates on notions of the policy problem the creation of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (SI) was intended to solve, compared to notions of the effects/influence of inspection. The empirical material consists of interviews with inspectors and inspection management at national and regional levels at the SI. Inspired by Bacchi (2009) a two-step analysis was performed. In the first step interview statements about inspection effects were categorised and then deductively analysed to find out what policy problem(s) the effects reported by the inspectors and inspection management correspond to. In the second step of the analysis, the deduced problems were compared to the interviewees’ notions of the policy problem(s) the SI was created to solve. The interviews show differences between the inspectors and inspection managers, especially when it comes to policy problems to be solved by the SI. The inspectors referred to the lack of educational equity for students in different schools and to municipalities and schools failure to comply with the steering documents. The inspection managers foremost referred to the lowered academic school performances in Swedish schools. The comparative analysis of the notions of policy problems and the deduced problems shows that there are both discrepancies and correspondence in this respect. One discrepancy relates to the problem of raising school performance perceived by the inspection managers to be a problem to be solved by SI. However no informant mentioned this as an impact from school inspection. Furthermore, the comparative analysis shows that there is correspondence between the policy problems most often referred to by the inspectors (i.e. educational equity and failure to comply with steering documents) and inspection impact, and hence the deduced problem of guarding individual students’ rights.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reykjavik: University of Iceland , 2013.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81429OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-81429DiVA: diva2:655242
Nordic Educational Research Association conference in Reykjavik, March 7-9, 2013.