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EQI: Centre for Evaluation,Quality & Inspection

2020 - Publications

Policy and practice: Including parents and students in school self-evaluation

Martin Brown, Gerry McNamara, Shivaun O’Brien, Craig Skerritt, Joe O’Hara

Irish Educational Studies, Volume 39, 2020 - Issue 4, 511-534.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2020.1814839

As with school self-evaluation in most European countries, the Irish education system now promotes the involvement and inclusion of stakeholders such as parents and students in the evaluation process. Yet, in the Irish context, there is limited research exploring the role of these stakeholders in this internal mode of school evaluation. To address this lacuna, this research draws on a national survey of post-primary school principals and interviews conducted with 109 stakeholders now placed at the centre of the evaluation process: school staff, parents and students. While there are some optimistic indications in the data, this research highlights that only slight progress has been made in terms of including parents and students in school self-evaluation in Ireland. The data presented in this paper corroborate that many age-old obstacles in the Irish context still exist and continue to dominate. Ultimately, this research concludes that changes in policy do not necessarily produce changes in practice.

Teachers responding to cultural diversity: case studies on assessment practices, challenges and experiences in secondary schools in Austria, Ireland, Norway and Turkey

Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger, Herbert Altrichter, Martin Brown, Denise Burns, Guri A Nortvedt, Guri Skedsmo, Eline Wiese, Funda Nayir, Magdalena Fellner, Gerry McNamara, Joe O’Hara

Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, Vol 32 Issue 3, 425-426


Global mobility and economic and political crises in some parts of the world have fuelled migration and brought new constellations of ‘cultural diversity’ to European classrooms (OECD 2019). This produces new challenges for teaching, but also for assessment in which cultural biases may have far-reaching consequences for the students’ further careers in education, occupation and life. After considering the concept of and current research on ‘culturally responsive assessment’, we use qualitative interview data from 115 teachers and school leaders in 20 lower secondary schools in Austria, Ireland, Norway and Turkey to explore the thinking about diversity and assessment practices of teachers in the light of increasing cultural diversity. Findings suggest that ‘proficiency in the language of instruction’ is the main dimension by which diversity in classrooms is perceived. While there is much less reference to ‘cultural differences’ in our case studies, we found many teachers in case schools trying to adapt their assessment procedures and grading in order to help students from diverse backgrounds to show their competencies and to experience success. However, these responses were, in many cases, individualistic rather than organised by the school or regional education authorities and were also strongly influenced and at times, limited by government-mandated assessment regimes that exist in each country. The paper closes with a series of recommendations to support the further development of a practicable and just practice of culturally responsive assessment in schools.