Developing coherent quality assurance strategies for school education : report from an expert assignment
Quality assurance has a key role in helping ensure that the vision of a European Education Area becomes a reality. Developing strong quality assurance systems is crucial to ensuring all students in schools throughout Europe receive a high-quality education. It is also a crucial step in the process of increasing transparency and trust between EU Member States. Strong quality assurance systems are vital to creating the conditions for an increase in student mobility across Europe, in particular through facilitating mutual recognition of diplomas and learning periods abroad. This report analyses a... range of policy and implementation challenges related to different aspects of quality assurance in school education. It explores how countries can address them in ways which are consistent with the vision of a European Education Area based on shared values about school education and how system-level improvement can most effectively be achieved in the light of such a vision. Key aspects of this vision on quality education include a commitment to establishing a climate of quality enhancement and trust as the foundation for the effective development of school quality. They also include a commitment to a balanced understanding of learner development which encompasses a future-oriented view of the competences which young people need for their personal fulfilment and development, for employment, social inclusion and active citizenship. The report sets out six main aspects of policy and practice with regard to school quality assurance. These relate to: - School self-evaluation; - External evaluation; - Evaluation and appraisal of teachers and school leaders; - Use of national qualifications and examinations in upper secondary education; - Assessment of student progress at earlier stages; and - Stakeholder engagement. The report concludes that these six areas of policy and practice are highly interdependent on each other. It therefore makes sense for each of the areas to be woven together within an integrated and coherent quality assurance strategy.