For improvement, accountability, or the economy? Reflecting on the purpose(s) of school self-evaluation in Ireland

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

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This paper reflects on compulsory school self-evaluation in Ireland. It sets important historical and contemporary context by documenting the development of a culture of evaluation in Ireland throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium before charting the rise of school self-evaluation during the austere economic conditions of post-2008 Ireland. Three key reasons are proposed for the rise of school self-evaluation: the influence of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the perceived need for more accountability, and the drive towards self-managing schools. In debating the purpose of school self-evaluation in Ireland it is put forward that it is not underpinned by any single logic, but an assemblage of overlapping logics interwoven by complements and contradictions. It is concluded that while improvement is predominantly promoted in official discourse, it is accountability and economic logics that dominate.

Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)158-173
JournalJournal of Educational Administration and History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022

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