In recent decades auditing – including activities such as supervision, evaluation, quality assurance, scrutiny, inspection, control e t c – has become an increasingly popular form of societal governance. National school systems constitute an area of activity that is particularly affected by this trend, as various both national and international, public and private, audit organizations scrutinize school performance. In the present study the auditing activities performed on elementary schools in Sweden, Finland, and Poland will be investigated in view of describing and analyzing their effects on, firstly, school organization and, secondly, the professional autonomy of teachers and principals. The three countries have been chosen because they represent three different approaches to, or even philosophies about, school inspection, and they are hence expected to yield interesting insights into the relation between audit, on the one hand, and school development (including the development of the school’s professional groups) on the other. Departing from an organization theory perspective, and drawing on Miller and Rose’s writings on governmentality, the study aims at unraveling the programmatic as well as technological dimensions involved in the audit of schools. This will be accomplished through comparative and qualitative case studies performed in the three countries where auditors – foremost the OECD and the respective national school inspections/evaluation offices – audit activities – the methods used, the analyses performed, the argumentation employed e t c – and auditees – four elementary schools in each country – alike will be followed over an extended period of time in order to get as close to the practice of audit as possible. The main ambition of the project is to, through thorough empirical studies of the different aspects of audit, contribute new and critical insights as well as deepened understandings of the workings of audit activities in general, and in the realm of elementary education in particular. We will look for and analyze positive as well as negative consequences, of various forms of audit for teachers’ and principals’ room for manoeuvre to plan develop and execute the schools’ core activity: teaching.
|Final report - Anders Ivarsson Westerberg - School under review