Review: UK School Inspection Policy Not Useful for US System

A recent report by the Education Sector called On Her Majesty’s School Inspection Service has recommended that the UK system of school inspections should be pursued by American educators when looking for a better understanding and improving student achievement.

However, a new review of the report has been reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Steven Jay Gross of Temple University. And Gross found that the report lacks any research base and has little to offer any discussions of education reform in the United States.

Craig D. Jerald authored the report, and while it outlines the English inspection system and analyses the characteristics and rubrics of the inspection system, it doesn’t offer any research to support the efficacy of the approach – or, for that matter, to demonstrate any faults it might have, says Gross’s review.

He writes:

“No research questions are posed and few examples from the extensive literature on English school inspections are offered, thereby excluding scholarship that is critical of the inspection process or of the concept of the inspection service itself.”

While the report lacks any research-based evidence, Gross believes it is ineffective in three key areas:

  • Building the case for the English inspection system
  • Alerting readers to challenges to that system
  • Illuminating the evaluation of quality teaching under the system

Gross concludes that while the key areas are left unaddressed, the report leaves many relevant questions unasked and unanswered.

The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.