ZIB Education

Effectiveness and conditions of school inspection: a research synthesis

Lead: TUM

What was the project about?

The objectives of this research synthesis were to assess the effectiveness of school inspections (external evaluations) and to find factors that may influence their effectiveness.

What are the results of the project?

The predominantly non-significant findings indicate a low effectiveness of school inspections. Positive effects were found with regard to the pupils' performance in mathematics and mother tongue. School inspections showed negative effects on the school staff’s emotional and motivational processes such as stress, fatigue or anxiety, as well as on the range of teaching methods and the curriculum. The quality of inspection perceived by the evaluators, the teachers’ own attitudes towards school inspection and the pressure of accountability experienced appear to be of particular importance for the effectiveness of inspection. On the basis of the findings, recommendations for inspection practice were derived, which concern (1) the implementation of the inspection, (2) the schools' attitudes towards inspection, (3) the pressure to be accountable, (4) the feedback of the inspection judgement and (5) the specific target groups of the inspection.


The results of this research synthesis were prepared in the form of a scientific article➚ and published in the journal Studies in Educational Evaluation.

Hofer, S., Holzberger, D., Reiss, K. (2020). Evaluating school inspection effectiveness: A systematic research synthesis on 30 years of international research. Studies in Educational Evaluation 65.

To what extent do internal and external evaluations have a positive effect on schools and teaching? The research project addresses this question. © iStock.com


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