copy the linklink copied!Chapter 4. Assuring quality schooling through external evaluation and school-led improvements

This chapter looks at how Georgia can improve schooling through introducing effective quality assurance mechanisms. Schools in Georgia have considerable autonomy, but few accountability measures in place to ensure that schools provide adequate services. Most schools have not undergone school authorisation, and a school evaluation framework is still being developed. Georgia should continue with its plans to authorise all schools, but prioritise authorisation visits and follow-up supports for schools that are struggling. Using the authorisation standards, Georgia can then finish developing a comprehensive school external evaluation framework that supports teaching and learning and holds schools accountable for their actions. Simultaneously, Georgia should improve the value of school self-evaluation, which is currently conducted but does not necessarily lead to school improvement.

    

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

copy the linklink copied!Introduction

Starting in 2005, Georgia began decentralising its schooling system. Compared to international benchmarks, schools in Georgia now have significant autonomy for assessment, curriculum, human resourcing and financial management (OECD, 2016[1]). The autonomy afforded to schools is supposed to be balanced by accountability and oversight from the school board and competition arising from parents exercising school choice. In practice, however, school boards lack the capacity and authority to provide robust oversight or accountability. Parental choice is also limited outside the biggest urban areas (Transparency International, n.d.[2]). Because Georgia lacks a robust school evaluation system, the country’s schools operate with very limited oversight and accountability. This situation is problematic because many schools could be struggling but there are no measures to identify them and help them improve.

Recognising the need for more and better information about the country’s schools, Georgia is planning to extend its authorisation model to ensure that all schools are meeting basic standards. However, the country lacks the resources to visit all its schools in the short term. This chapter recommends a risk assessment model to identify those schools in greatest need of improvement.

In line with the country’s ambitions to introduce in the future a fuller model of school evaluation focused on educational quality, the chapter also suggests how Georgia can start to prepare its institutions and schools for this change. In particular, it focuses on how greater support can be provided to schools so that they develop the confidence and capacity to use evaluation to lead improvement. Enabling schools to drive improvements will also support the country’s reforms to create a “New School Model” where schools adapt teaching and learning to meet the needs and interests of individual students.

copy the linklink copied!Key features of an effective school evaluation system

In most OECD countries, school evaluations motivate schools to comply with rules and procedures, and focus increasingly on school improvement (see Figure 4.1). Another recent trend has been the development of school self-evaluation, which has become a central mechanism for encouraging school-led improvement and objective setting. Internationally, strong systems for external and school-level monitoring and evaluation are seen as essential complements to decentralised systems to ensure local and school accountability for education quality.

Frameworks for school evaluation focus on key aspects of the school environment and help drive school transparency and consistency

Frameworks for school evaluation should align with the broader aims of an education system. They should encourage schools to create an environment where all students can thrive and achieve national learning standards. As well as ensuring compliance with rules and procedures, effective frameworks focus on the aspects of the school environment that are most important for students’ learning and development. These include the quality of teaching and learning, support for teachers’ development, and the quality of instructional leadership (OECD, 2013[3]). Most frameworks also use a measure of students’ educational outcomes and progress according to national learning standards, such as assessments results or teachers’ reports.

A number of OECD countries have developed a national vision of a good school (OECD, 2013[3]). The vision guides evaluation, helping to focus on the ultimate purpose of ensuring that every school is good. Visions are often framed around learners, setting out how a good school supports their intellectual, emotional and social development.

copy the linklink copied!
Figure 4.1. School evaluation framework
Figure 4.1. School evaluation framework

Countries’ external evaluations balance accountability and improvement

The vast majority of OECD countries have external school evaluation. Schools tend to be evaluated on a cyclical basis, most commonly every three to five years (OECD, 2015[4]). Within the broad purpose of evaluating school performance, some countries emphasise accountability for teaching quality and learning outcomes. In these countries, national assessment data, school ratings and the publication of evaluation reports play an important role. In contrast, in countries that place greater emphasis on improvement, evaluations tend to focus more on providing support and feedback to schools. They also place strong emphasis on helping schools develop their own internal evaluation and improvement processes.

Evaluations aim to establish a school-wide perspective on teaching and learning

Using administrative information to check for compliance is a standard procedure for evaluations, although the data is now collected digitally in most countries (OECD, 2015[4]). Digital data collection frees up time during school visits to collect observed evidence of school quality. Most evaluations are based on such school visits over multiple days. Visits frequently include classroom observations. Unlike for teacher appraisal, these observations do not evaluate individual teachers but rather aim to cover a sample of classes across different subjects and grades to establish a view of teaching and learning across the school. Inspectors also undertake interviews with school staff, students and sometimes collect the views of parents. Since much of this information is qualitative and subjective, making it difficult to reliably evaluate, countries develop significant guidance, such as rubrics for classroom observations, to help inspectors evaluate schools fairly and accurately.

Many countries have created school inspectorates in the central government

External evaluations are led by national education authorities, frequently from the central government (OECD, 2013[3]). Across Europe, most countries have created an inspectorate that is affiliated with, but frequently independent of, the central education authority. This arrangement ensures integrity and enables the inspectorate to develop the significant professional expertise necessary for effective evaluation. School inspectors may be permanent staff or accredited experts contracted to undertake evaluations. The latter provides flexibility for countries, enabling them to meet the schedule of school evaluations and draw on a range of experience, without the costs of maintaining a large permanent staff. Inspectors across OECD countries are generally expected to have significant experience in education and teaching. Figure 4.2 illustrates the characteristics of school evaluation in OECD countries.

copy the linklink copied!
Figure 4.2. School evaluation in OECD countries
Figure 4.2. School evaluation in OECD countries

Source: OECD (2015[4]), Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2015-en.

The consequences of evaluations vary according to their purpose

To serve improvement purposes, evaluations must provide schools with clear, specific feedback in the school evaluation report, which helps them understand what the school’s strengths are and what they can do to improve. To encourage schools to implement the recommendations contained in their evaluation reports, countries often require schools to use evaluation results in their development plans. In some countries, local authorities also support evaluation follow-up and school improvement. Around half of OECD countries use evaluation results to target low-performing schools for more frequent evaluations (OECD, 2015[4]).

In most countries, evaluations also result in a rating that highlights excellent, satisfactory or under-performing schools. To support accountability, most OECD countries publish evaluation reports (OECD, 2015[4]). Public evaluation reports can generate healthy competition between schools and are an important source of information for students and parents in systems with school choice. However, publishing reports also risks distorting school-level practices such as encouraging an excessive focus on assessment results or preparation for evaluations. Therefore, it is critical that evaluation frameworks emphasise the quality of school-level processes and an inclusive vision of learning where all students, regardless of ability or background, are supported to do their best. Evaluation systems that emphasise decontextualised outcome data like assessment results are likely to unfairly penalise schools where students come from less advantaged backgrounds, since socio-economic background is the most influential factor associated with educational outcomes (OECD, 2016[1]).

Self-evaluation is an internal tool for improvement

Most OECD countries require schools to undertake self-evaluations at least once every two years. Self-evaluations encourage reflection, goal setting and inform school development plans (OECD, 2013[3]). To emphasise the formative purpose of self-evaluation, many countries encourage schools to appropriate self-evaluation as an internal tool for improvement rather than an externally imposed requirement. In some countries, schools develop their own frameworks for self-evaluation. In others, they use a common framework with external evaluation, but have the discretion to add or adapt indicators to reflect their contexts and priorities.

The relationship between external and internal evaluations varies across countries. In general, as systems mature, greater emphasis is placed on self-evaluation while external evaluation is scaled back. Most OECD countries now use the results from self-evaluations to feed external evaluations, with, for example, inspectors reviewing self-evaluation results as part of external evaluations. However, the relationship is also shaped by the degree of school autonomy – in centralised systems, external evaluations continue to have a more dominant role, while the reverse is true for systems that emphasise greater school autonomy.

Effective self-evaluation requires strong school-level capacity

Effective self-evaluation requires strong leadership and strong processes for monitoring, evaluating and setting objectives (SICI, 2003[5]). Many OECD countries highlight that developing this capacity in schools is a challenge. It is therefore important that principals and teachers be given specific training in self-evaluation, such as using evaluation results, classroom and peer observations, analysis of data and developing improvement plans (OECD, 2013[3]). Other supports include guidelines on undertaking self-evaluations and suggested indicators for self-evaluations.

While a principal’s leadership plays a critical role in self-evaluation, creating teams to share self-evaluation roles is also important. The most effective self-evaluation teams involve a range of staff that are respected by their colleagues and have a clear vision of how self-evaluation can support school improvement. In order to support collective learning, self-evaluation should also engage the whole school community. This includes students, who have a unique perspective on how schools and classrooms can be improved (Rudduck, 2007[6]). Students’ views also help to understand how the school environment impacts students’ well-being and their overall development, which is important for evaluating the extent to which a country or economy has achieved a national vision that is focused on learners.

Data systems provide important inputs for evaluation

Administrative school data – like the number of students, their background and teacher information – provides important contextual information for internal and external evaluators. Increasingly, countries use information systems that collect information from schools for multiple purposes, including evaluation and policy-making.

Most countries also collect information about school outcomes. Standardised assessments and national examinations provide comparative information about learning to national standards. However, since assessment results do not provide a full picture of a school, they are often complemented by other information like student retention and progression, student background, school financial information and previous evaluation results. A number of countries use this data to develop composite indicators of school performance. Indicators frequently inform evaluation and support school accountability. Some countries also use this information to identify schools at risk of low performance and target them for evaluations (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2015[7]).

Principals must be able to lead school improvement

Strong school leadership is essential for effective school self-evaluation, and school improvement more generally. Principals support evaluation and improvement through a number of leadership roles – defining the school’s goals, observing instruction, supporting teachers’ professional development and collaborating with teachers to improve instruction (Schleicher, 2015[8]). This diversity points to a major shift in the principal’s role in recent years, with principals increasingly leading instructional improvement.

Principals need a deep understanding of teaching and learning, and strong leadership skills to become instructional leaders

Most principals bring significant experience of the teaching profession – among the countries participating in the OECD Teacher and Learning International Survey (TALIS), the average principal has 20 years of teaching experience. Teaching experience alone, however, is not sufficient, and the ability to demonstrate strong leadership of the school community is particularly important. Nearly 83% of principals in TALIS-participating countries reported that they received training in instructional leadership either before or after taking up their position, or both (OECD, 2019[9]).

Principals’ initial training must be complemented by opportunities for continued professional development once in post. One of the most effective types are collaborative professional learning activities, where principals work together to examine practices and acquire new knowledge (DuFour, 2004[10]). In countries where international assessment results suggest that learning levels are high, like the Netherlands and Singapore, more than 80% of principals reported participating in these kinds of activities in the last 12 months (OECD, 2019[9]).

Professionalising school leadership – standards, selection and appraisal

Given the important role that principals occupy, many OECD countries are taking steps to professionalise the role. A number of countries have developed professional principal standards that set out what a school leader is expected to know and be able to do. Principal standards should include how principals are expected to contribute to self-evaluation and improvement. Similar to teachers, principal standards guide the recruitment of principals, their training and appraisal.

Around half of OECD countries have legislated appraisal of school leaders (OECD, 2015[4]). These kinds of appraisals hold principals accountable for their leadership of the school, but also provide them with valuable professional feedback and support. Responsibility for principal appraisal varies. In some countries, it is led by central authorities, like the school inspectorate or the same body that undertakes external teacher appraisals. In others, it is the responsibility of a school-level body, like the school board. While the latter provides the opportunity to ensure that appraisal closely reflects the school context, boards need significant support to appraise principals competently and fairly.

copy the linklink copied!
Figure 4.3. Existence of school leader appraisal in OECD countries and economies (2015)
In general programmes
Figure 4.3. Existence of school leader appraisal in OECD countries and economies (2015)

Source: OECD (2015[4]), Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2015-en.

copy the linklink copied!Schools in Georgia

School principals

Principals have similar levels of experience and academic qualifications as their counterparts in OECD countries

Principals in Georgia are required to have three years of any type of work experience (World Bank, 2014[11]). While this differs from many OECD countries, where principals must have teaching experience, in practice the vast majority of Georgia’s principals have been teachers in the past. In TALIS 2018, principals in Georgia reported having 23 years of teaching experience on average, greater than the OECD average of 20 (OECD, 2019[9]). Almost all principals report having at least a short-cycle tertiary degree (ISCED 5).

Principal appointment

Candidate principals must pass a two-stage selection process to be eligible to be appointed to a school. First, they must pass a certification examination that is organised by the Education Management Information System (EMIS) unit in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MoESCS). Second, candidates are interviewed by a commission that includes the Deputy Education Minister, the Head of Preschool and General Development Department, the Head of the Human Resources Department and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and trade unions. Candidates who pass this process can then be appointed to individual schools by the school board. The members of the board vote for a new principal through a secret ballot. If the board cannot reach a decision, the ministry can appoint a new principal.

Principals receive little preparation for the requirements of their new role

Principals in Georgia are not required to complete any initial preparation (World Bank, 2014[11]). In contrast, the international trend towards professionalising the school principal position means that an increasing number of countries provide some initial training for new principals. Over 30% of principals in TALIS-participating countries in 2018 report receiving training in instructional leadership before taking up their position. This was the case for just 12% of principals in Georgia (OECD, 2019[9]).

Provision for principals’ continuous professional development is also limited

The Teacher Professional Development Centre (TPDC) does provide some professional development for principals, but significantly less than for teachers. The OECD team’s interviews suggested that TPDC’s offerings are insufficient to meet principals’ needs. Principals in Georgia report participating in professional development much less than their counterparts in other TALIS-participating countries. Just 39% of principals in Georgia report participating in education conferences and 21% in peer or self-observation and coaching, compared to 73% and 51%, respectively, across TALIS 2018 participating countries (OECD, 2019[9]). The lack of continuous professional development specifically tailored for principals is reflected in principals’ responses to a survey administered for this review. When asked to identify in which areas they would like to receive further development, the most commonly selected area is school administration (e.g. scheduling and budgeting).

Recently, however, a number of projects funded by international donors have been developed to provide more support for principals. In 2016-18, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded leadership academies, led by TPDC. The academies provided training for principals on being an instructional leader, including how to lead school evaluations. The Georgia Primary Education Project (G-PriEd) also focused on developing the instructional role of school principals by engaging them in classroom observations, providing constructive feedback and teacher performance evaluations (USAID, 2018[12]) (see chapter 3).

Principals have significant autonomy with limited oversight

Principals have more autonomy for school management, such as staff hiring and firing and developing the school budget, than principals in many OECD countries (OECD, 2016[1]). However, there is currently little oversight to monitor the quality and integrity of their actions. While schools receive regular checks from the Educational Resource Centres (ERCs), these are focused on checking compliance with legislation and not on the quality of schooling. In theory, principals are supposed to be appraised by school boards, but, in the absence of training or guidance on how to undertake this role, boards are unable to meaningfully appraise principals.

School governance

School boards have an important role but lack the capacity to undertake it effectively

As part of the decentralisation reforms of 2005, school boards were established as the main decision-making body in schools. The boards comprise six to 12 members, with equal representation of parents and teachers, one student representative and one local government representative. Boards are supposed to appoint the principal, approve the annual school budget, monitor all school spending and appraise the principal (Transparency International, n.d.[2]; World Bank, 2014[11]).

However, boards have not received support to take on these key roles in school management. A related concern is the boards’ ability to maintain the independence and integrity of their decision-making. There are reports of board members being intimidated to vote a certain way in decisions regarding principal appointments (Transparency International, n.d.[2]). The lack of boards’ professional independence and capacity also makes it very difficult for them to oversee effectively the school budget or appraise principals.

Schools receive regular checks from Education Resource Centres

ERCs were created in 2005 in each municipality following decentralisation reforms. Each ERC has around four to five staff, including a financial officer, secretary, educational specialist(s) and an assistant. ERC staff visit all schools at least once a month, and on many occasions more frequently, to check compliance on issues such as school infrastructure, student attendance and record keeping. Representatives from ERCs fill out standard forms that are shared with the General Education Department in MoESCS.

ERCs replaced regional representations of the ministry and were supposed to contribute re-orienting education governance to be more supportive instead of controlling. While many ERCs have developed close relationships with the schools in their municipalities, their roles are limited to serving as conduits between the ministry and schools with little time, staff capacity or resources to support schools. This situation partly reflects the inefficient organisation of ERCs. Staff from ERCs are required to visit all schools every month, regardless of whether there are any concerns or issues in the school. Moreover, all ERCs have the same number of staff, regardless of the number of schools within an ERC’s jurisdiction. This means that some ERCs are stretched across 50 or more schools, while others in less populated areas might work with just 10.

A “New School Model” aims to strengthen school-level support

Georgia is at the beginning of a comprehensive reform across its education system (see chapter 1). One aim of this reform is to change instruction from focusing on acquiring knowledge to focusing on developing key competencies like critical thinking, problem-solving and communication. Changes to the structure of the curriculum also mean that it will now be organised across multiple grades, reflecting key stages in student learning, rather than by individual grades as in the past. This change is intended to provide teachers with greater flexibility to differentiate teaching to individual students’ interests and needs (see chapter 2).

As part of these reforms, a “New School Model” aims to strengthen schools so that they have the confidence and capacity to make the most of this more flexible approach to teaching and learning. While detailed plans were not available at the time of this review, one aspect of the “New School Model” is to strengthen the role of school principals as instructional leaders. Another is to use school coaches to build in-school capacity for instruction. The coaches will encourage teachers to take advantage of the freedoms provided by the new curriculum to design their own lessons and assessments. This approach builds on the school-based development model started by the G-Pried and MCC activities (see chapter 3). The “New School Model” will begin as a pilot in 50 of the country’s “average” schools in spring 2019. It will then be adapted and expanded to cover schools that meet specific conditions, such as those with a large share of students from linguistic minorities or schools in remote, mountainous areas.

Data systems

Georgia collects school-level data but it is difficult for schools to use and analyse

Georgia collects and stores a wide range of school data on students, teachers and infrastructure in its EMIS system. This information is entered by schools via E-School, EMIS’s online portal. However, E-School lacks simple tools to access and analyse data. Schools cannot, for example, easily obtain information about trends in the school over time or in comparison to other schools (see chapter 5). The OECD team’s visits to schools revealed that they do not use data like student attendance to set school-level objectives or monitor quality.

There is no standard monitoring of learning outcomes

A major challenge for monitoring learning outcomes across Georgia’s schools is the lack of reliable data on student learning outcomes. Following examination reforms in 2019, the only standardised assessment that students take is the Unified Entry Examination (UEE) at the end of grade 12 for entry to tertiary education. The introduction of a national assessment would provide valuable data to monitor learning outcomes. Most OECD countries administer such an assessment (see chapter 5).

However, the data that is available could also be better exploited. One challenge for schools is that, while school administrative data is held in EMIS, results from the national examination are held in the National Assessment and Examinations Centre’s (NAEC) database and the two systems are not linked. This makes it difficult for schools to compare their student results to other schools with similar contexts and student populations. The system for school authorisation also makes limited use of school administrative data or data on learning outcomes.

copy the linklink copied!School evaluation in Georgia

While Georgia does not yet have a full school evaluation model (see Table 4.1), it aims to develop one over the medium to long term. This will entail a major change from the current authorisation process, which is focused on compliance with regulations, towards a broader evaluation of school quality and capacity for improvement. In the short term, Georgia wishes to apply the authorisation process to the country’s public schools in preparation for the implementation of a fuller evaluation model in the future.

copy the linklink copied!
Table 4.1. School evaluation in Georgia

Types of evaluation

Reference standards

Guiding documents

Body responsible

Procedure

Frequency

Use

External school evaluation

Does not exist at present but standards being developed for its introduction

School authorisation

School authorisation standards

Authorisation report

National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE)

Council for Authorisation of General Education Institutions

A team of external experts undertakes

Evaluation of school self-evaluation report

School visit

Authorisation report is validated by the Council

Every six years

School not authorised are closed

School self-evaluation

Self-evaluation form

National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE)

School staff

At least every three years

Self-evaluation reports are required for authorisation and inform school development plans.

External school evaluation

School authorisation focuses on compliance with basic standards

School authorisation was introduced in 2010 and is led by the National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE). The purpose of authorisation is to maintain compliance with three national school standards (see Box 4.1). Unlike school evaluation in OECD countries and economies, authorisation does not evaluate educational quality or take into account school outcomes like student retention or assessment results.

copy the linklink copied!
Box 4.1. Georgia’s school authorisation standards

Schools must meet the following three standards to be authorised:

  1. 1. The school’s study plans are aligned with the national curriculum, including:

    • School study plans provide equal support for different students’ learning needs, and a programme for students with special educational needs.

    • Systems and criteria for student assessment are transparent, and the outcomes are used to support students’ academic progress.

    • There are procedures in place to report students’ progress to parents, and to involve parents in the life of the school.

  2. 2. Schools have material resources that meet the needs of its study plans, including:

    • The school has at least 250m2 (except if there are less than 50 students).

    • Classrooms have necessary equipment such as desks and blackboards.

    • The school has basic infrastructure (electricity, sanitary conditions, lighting and heating).

    • The school has plans to safeguard health and safety (e.g. fire safety systems, evaluation plans, first aid equipment, etc.).

    • The school has action plans providing for efficient use and further improvement of material resources.

  3. 3. The school has an adequate number of staff and skills profiles to undertake the activities set out in its study plan, including:

    • School teachers are selected in line with legal requirements.

    • The school has rules for staff selection, employment and dismissal, and transparent procedures for promotion and sanctions.

    • The school has a system in place for staff’s professional development.

    • The school environment is based on mutual respect and co-operation, and provides a context where staff can fulfil their potential.

Each school authorisation takes six months and is based on data analysis and a school visit with classroom observations, interviews with teachers and students and feedback from families. The NCEQE also conducts a shorter, 90 day monitoring of schools, in response to a complaint or an application. While full authorisation takes places every six years, all schools receive at least one follow-up visit between authorisations, and schools with significant issues receive more.

Authorisation has now been applied to the country’s 200 private schools and Georgia’s original intent was to extend authorisation to public schools. According to the Law, all public schools should be authorised by 2021. However, this means authorising some 2000 schools and the NCEQE has the capacity to authorise between 50 and 100 annually, making this objectives unfeasible. This chapter provides suggestions on what NCEQE can do to meet the 2021 target (see Recommendation 4.1.1).

With the introduction of the “New School Model”, adapting the authorisation framework for public schools has been somewhat deprioritised. It is unclear to what extent the ministry plans to authorise public schools and has given some indications (e.g. presentations and public communications) that it might not consider authorisation to be a key instrument for monitoring and improving schooling. There have been discussions to explore other methods of doing so, such as developing a composite index to measure quality.

Planned new authorisation standards focus on performance and quality

The NCEQE is in the process of revising the current authorisation framework so that it is better adapted to guiding a review of education quality in public schools. The current draft of the new framework appears to bring the authorisation process more into line with school evaluation practices in many OECD countries, with more emphasis on teaching and learning practices and outcomes, as well as stronger focus on school leadership quality. It is also intended that the revised framework will include clearer expectations with respect to school accountability for performance. An initial suggestion was that schools found to be non-compliant with the new standards would be closed, while others would be required to develop improvement plans according to differing timelines depending on their performance. Like existing authorisation, the process is expected to take place every six years.

The National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement is responsible for overseeing school quality, but its staff does not have a strong background in monitoring and evaluation

NCEQE has 150 staff, but most serve an administrative function. NCEQE has historically perceived itself to be a management arm of the ministry and not as an assessor of teaching and learning quality. Though it is responsible for overseeing the school authorisation process, authorisations themselves are not conducted by NCEQE staff, but external experts with teaching experience who are contracted by NCEQE.

Georgia’s move towards a more quality-oriented school evaluation model in the future will require expertise in school quality and improvement within NCEQE. In line with the practice in countries with established school evaluation models, a body like the NCEQE will need to review draft standards and determine if they focus enough on key issues for school quality, produce national, analytical reports on the results of school evaluations and advise ministers on school quality. These activities require that NCEQE have a strong understanding of what makes for a quality teaching and learning environment, but this type of background is not widely found among NCEQE staff.

A Council currently reviews all school authorisation reports

A Council comprising 11 members meets each month to review each school authorisation report. The members include representatives from TPDC, school principals, national trainers and teachers. The Council’s role is seen as providing an important independent review of authorisation decisions. However, when authorisation is extended to public schools, the volume of authorisations will mean that it will not be realistic for the Council to review each school’s authorisation report. Recently, there have been discussion about integrating staff from ERCs into the review process to help increase review capacity.

Self-evaluation

Schools do not yet see self-evaluation as an internal tool for improvement

All schools are required to submit self-evaluation reports to the NCEQE at least once every three years. Schools are expected to use their self-evaluation report to develop both a long-term development plan and a one-year operational plan. Self-evaluation focuses on the same three standards as authorisation (see Box 4.1), with the overall purpose of assessing a school’s readiness for authorisation.

The process of self-evaluation is well-established in Georgia. Self-evaluation was introduced in 2010, and 88% of the schools surveyed for this review reported that they undertake a self-evaluation annually. However, the OECD team’s interviews revealed that schools perceive self-evaluation to be an add-on to their existing management processes, rather than a tool to inform improvement. These circumstances reflect a number of challenges with the current self-evaluation model, including the absence of a clearly defined purpose, the lack of tools and guidance to help schools undertake self-evaluation and the absence of hands-on, external support. To address these challenges, in 2016 NAEC initiated an MCC-funded pilot with fifteen schools on self-evaluation to identify tools, resources and training to help schools more effectively use self-evaluation for improvement.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issues

Georgia’s most immediate concern is to develop a model of authorisation that can be practically applied to all the country’s schools. This can be achieved by modifying its current authorisation process to focus on schools in greatest need of support. In addition to enabling targeted support, strategically extending authorisation to all the country’s schools in this manner will collect information about the most important challenges that schools in Georgia face. MoESCS can use this evidence to inform the development of a full school evaluation framework, which could require self-evaluation and encourage school-directed improvement efforts.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 4.1. Reaching all schools for authorisation

The review team recommends that Georgia focus its attentions on its original aim to authorise all public schools in the short term, which will help to address the significant gap in school oversight that currently exists. While developing composite indices of school quality can help monitor schooling, the use of such measures is a complement to, not replacement for, regular school evaluation processes (OECD, 2013[3]). By providing information about the current state of public schooling across the country, authorisation will also help the ministry prepare to introduce a fuller model of external evaluation in the future. However, as the ministry has recognised, authorising all public schools by 2021 is not feasible. Therefore, this policy issue recommends that Georgia develop a risk-assessment model to identify those schools at greatest risk of not meeting the basic conditions for a quality education. It also suggests the kinds of follow-up support that can be provided to struggling schools to help them rapidly meet basic educational standards.

Recommendation 4.1.1. Develop a risk assessment model to guide the provisional authorisation of public schools

Georgia has strong systems for collecting basic school information. The country’s EMIS and NAEC databases contain a wealth of administrative school data and national examination results. A number of the ministry’s units or departments also regularly visit schools, for example to check sanitary conditions, curriculum implementation and school infrastructure. Because authorisation of public schools cannot be realistically completed in a short amount of time, Georgia can use the available information from these sources to identify schools that need immediate support and those that can be provisionally authorised in the short term and receive a fuller evaluation later in the cycle.

Identify indicators for the risk assessment model

In a number of OECD and European Union (EU) systems, various data are used to underpin a differentiated approach to school evaluation, in which schools with greatest needs are identified and then prioritised to receive support. In the Netherlands, the risk assessment is based on learning outcomes on national tests and school processes like financial administration, in Sweden, on the results of a school survey, in Ireland on student retention and attendance data and in England and Northern Ireland, on judgements from previous inspections (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2015[7]).

Based on the experiences of other countries, available research about effective schooling environment and the specific challenges that schools in Georgia face, the country might consider the following indicators for its risk assessment model:

  • Material resources. Existing information from the ministry’s infrastructure unit can be used to develop a set of material resource indicators, based on the existing authorisation standards. The indicators should set out a minimum level of basic infrastructure that all schools are expected to have. The infrastructure unit can provide this information, complemented by data from ERCs and schools.

  • Financial data. Information from EMIS about a school’s budget can be used to monitor if resources are being used appropriately and efficiently. The ministry could set minimum expectations for the school-level management of financial data, such as maintaining a transparent budget, which would make it possible to track how funds are used.

  • Staff. Data from EMIS can be used to provide information on the share of teachers in each school by age, gender, teaching status, and participation in professional development. Based on the country’s goals to professionalise teaching, minimum standards in terms of the share of teachers who have passed certification examinations and regular participation in professional development could be developed (see chapter 3).

  • Student outcomes. This could include minimum standards with respect to student retention and attendance. Data from the NAEC databases on UEE results can be used to measure student learning outcomes. When a national assessment is implemented, its results will provide information about learning at earlier stages of schooling (see chapter 5).

  • Student profile. Risk assessments should reflect the context in which a school is operating. Using student demographic data will highlight schools where there is a concentration of students at greater risk of low performance given their backgrounds. Relevant information about student demographics include age, grade, mother tongue and socio-economic background (indicated by the proxy measure of family receipt of social assistance).

  • Processes. To focus on quality and school improvement, risk assessments might also try to take into account the quality of school processes. Minimum standards could be for having key policies and practices and following transparent financial planning procedures. Other important school processes to look at include student assessment and staff policies (recruitment, promotion, dismissals, etc.), support for teachers’ professional development, as well as having a self-evaluation report and school charter or vision. Authorisation could then review in greater detail the documentation of these policies and processes.

Develop minimum thresholds for indicators

Once Georgia has decided the indicators that it will use, it will need to identify minimum thresholds for each indicator. These will help to quickly determine if a school is not meeting basic standards. Georgia will need to set minimum thresholds not only based on national priorities, but also available staff and resources for school follow-up and authorisation visits.

One approach would be to first collect available school data based on the risk assessment indicators. Georgia can then determine minimum thresholds based on NCEQE’s capacity to undertake full authorisations and national capacity for school follow-ups (e.g. how many schools would meet standards given a threshold level, and would NCEQE have the capacity to follow-up with that number of schools).

Determine the consequences of risk assessment

On the basis of collected information, schools might be grouped into two broad categories:

  1. 1. Provisional authorisation. Schools meeting minimum thresholds are provisionally authorised. These schools might receive a full authorisation visit once the schools in greatest need of improvement have received the necessary support and follow-up visits.

  2. 2. Prioritised to receive an authorisation visit. Schools not meeting minimum thresholds should receive a full authorisation visit. Schools in this category should also receive guidance and feedback to support improvement (Recommendation 4.1.2).

The information that is collected as part of the risk assessment model can also be used to better understand school needs and challenges, with these insights feeding into the development of the full external school evaluation model in the future (Policy issue 4.2).

Recommendation 4.1.2. Focus Education Resource Centres on supporting schools

Schools that do not meet provisional authorisation standards should be provided with more support and resources to improve. The ministry is already aware that schools need greater external support and the “New School Model” plans for greater school-level support from coaches.

Research on the quality of external support to under-performing schools in the United States highlights the importance of relevance and “fit” between a school’s needs and the support provided. Other factors include responsiveness, stability and timeliness (Boyle et al., 2000[13]) (see Box 4.2). In Georgia, ERCs are close to schools and, over the past decade, have developed a close and trusting relationship with them. ERCs are, therefore, likely to have a good understanding of local schools’ needs, enabling them to provide relevant support. ERCs’ geographic proximity to schools also means that they are likely to be able to provide support that is timely.

However, moving from focusing on compliance checking to supporting school improvement will entail a major change for ERCs. Their capacity is currently fully absorbed by school visits and they lack the necessary expertise in teaching and learning to support schools in addressing the challenges that they face. This recommendation discusses how ERCs’ current structure and function can be revised to better reflect a school support and improvement function.

copy the linklink copied!
Box 4.2. What makes external support effective?

According to the research on the quality of external support to under-performing schools in the United States (Boyle et al., 2000[13]), the factors that influence the quality of external support include:

  • the “fit” of the support, such as the alignment of the expertise of a support provider to a specific school’s needs and the fit between a school’s challenges and the intervention

  • the responsiveness of the support, including the feedback mechanisms that allow the support’s coordinators and providers to monitor the provision of support and make adjustments, and the availability of support providers to schools’ requests

  • the intensity, such as the number of days of assistance and the amount of financial support

  • the stability, such as, the commitment of support providers to the process and sufficient political will to engage with the school throughout the change process

  • the coherence of the support, implying that the national or sub-national policies should collectively reinforce each other to avoid duplication of effort and confusion

  • timeliness, so that the sequence of activities included in the school improvement process can be undertaken during the school year.

Sources: Boyle et al., (2000[13]), State Support for School Improvement: School-level Perceptions of Quality Evaluating the Quality of State Support for School Improvement, American Institutes for Research, Washington D.C., www.air.org (accessed on 5 December 2018); Padilla, Woodworth and Laguarda (2006[14]), Evaluation of title I accountability systems: School-improvement efforts and assistance to identified schools, paper presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Reduce/end ERCs’ mandate for compliance checking

All schools currently receive an ERC visit once a month. The primary focus of these visits is to ensure compliance with ministry regulations and procedures. As Georgia implements the risk assessment model that this chapter recommends (Recommendation 4.1.1) and extends authorisation to all public schools, a large part of ERCs’ compliance checking function will become redundant. National databases and information systems will be able to provide automatically and electronically much of the information currently provided by ERCs. These data will be supplemented by information collected during the authorisation visits.

If there are concerns that there are some aspects of school compliance that will not be checked as part of the risk assessment and authorisation process, Georgia can consider providing schools with standard protocols to follow and ask them to share the completed compliance documents electronically. Increasingly across OECD countries, compliance information related to aspects ranging from teacher qualifications, the curriculum and safety issues are provided digitally (OECD, 2013[3]). As in OECD countries, the accuracy of this data can be checked during the school authorisation visit and/or as part of ERCs’ audit function that this review recommends Georgia introduce (see below).

Reform ERCs to provide school-level support for improvement

Reducing ERCs’ role in compliance would allow them to focus more on school-level improvement. This will need to be followed by a reform and restructuring of ERCs so that they are able to take on a more support-oriented function. This change should be led by the ministry and begin by changing the mandate of ERCs and setting out core responsibilities.

First, the ministry will need to change the mandate of ERCs from compliance to support. Then, ERCs and schools should be provided with centrally developed materials that set out the tasks they are expected to undertake (see below). This review recommends that, given the current capacity and profile of staff within ERCs, their primary responsibility would be that of school monitoring, orientation and networking. This focus would be part of a broader reconfiguration of education support structures, where professional capacity for technical assistance in areas such as teacher and school development would be consolidated at a higher, regional level.

The ministry should also consider creating a team at the central level to provide support and oversight for ERCs’ work. One of this team’s tasks would be to create regular events or meetings for ERCs from across the country to come together to collaborate and share experiences. Meetings might focus on issues like common challenges seen in schools, effective techniques or methods for working with schools and identifying potentially useful school partnerships across regions.

While ERCs will not be direct providers of instructional support and guidance, they will need to have adequate experience and understanding of teaching and learning and how to create effective school environments. ERCs already have some education specialists. In each ERC, individuals in this role should be expected to lead school support. ERC staff should also receive regular training on the changes to the curriculum, teaching policy and school evaluation so they become qualified to guide and advise schools with respect to the most recent national policy changes. This training can build on the existing TPDC training for ERC staff.

Finally, the ministry will need to rationalise the ERC network. The current level of ERC support across each municipality is an inefficient use of resources. Furthermore, it will not be possible to develop ERCs’ capacity while they continue to be spread thinly across each municipality. In line with the practice in many OECD countries, Georgia should consider making ERC support and presence more proportional to school needs. One aspect of this will be to create the expectation that ERCs focus on those schools in greatest need of support (see below). Another will be aligning the national distribution of ERCs with school and student numbers in each area. After the risk assessment model is implemented, it will provide the information needed to more efficiently distribute ERCs and their staff according to school need. Regions with a greater share of schools not meeting minimum thresholds should have a greater ERC presence than those where there are few schools in this category. Over time, ERC support might move to the regional level where they will remain close to schools but be able to develop real improvement capacity and efficiencies of scale.

Develop a model for ERCs’ support to schools

The ministry will need to communicate and develop national guidance that clearly sets out how the reformed ERCs are expected to work. Core functions of ERCs should include:

  • Identifying urgent and pressing needs on the basis of the risk assessment. ERCs should work with schools to develop a plan to address priority concerns following the risk assessment, pending the review and feedback from authorisation.

  • Regularly checking in with schools to monitor progress against their improvement plans. Schools identified as being at greatest risk should receive more regular visits (e.g. monthly). The school authorisation team should brief ERC staff at the end of their visit to guide this follow-up work.

  • Pairing schools who have effective and less effective management processes to encourage peer learning and collaboration between them.

  • Directing schools to external support. Many schools will not be able to improve teaching and learning on their own – they have limited resources to draw on and teachers and principals lack important content and pedagogical knowledge. While ERCs do not have specific expertise in instructional improvement or school improvement, they have a key role in directing schools to relevant sources of support. They can direct schools or teachers to TPDC training, linking with other effective schools in the vicinity or schools with similar problems. ERCs should also be expected to work with new school coaches as part of the “New School Model” to develop tailored school-level support.

Reinforce ERCs’ role in financial auditing

Ensuring that schools manage their budget transparently, competently and with integrity is critical for school quality and effectiveness. This is particularly true in Georgia, where financial transparency and integrity are a concern (see chapter 1). Financial reporting is one indicator in the proposed risk assessment model but, given its importance and the high degree of school autonomy in this area, it should be reinforced by other measures.

One way to do this is by bolstering ERCs’ role in financial auditing. At present, there is a financial officer in each ERC but, considering the scale of the challenge, this function needs reinforcing. Georgia should consider creating a separate audit unit within ERCs, staffed by professionals in financial auditing, to check how schools are using resources. The units would monitor school budgets review how funds are being used. They might also be expected to undertake full financial audits of school budgets on a cyclical basis. To ensure integrity and objectivity, it is important that the auditing function be distinct and separate from school support functions.

Use the new school coaches to provide intensive support for teaching and learning

NAEC’s project on school self-evaluation found that schools are not well equipped to develop solutions to the instructional challenges that they face (NAEC, 2018[15]). While ERCs will be able to direct some schools to external support, such as from the TPDC, achieving deep, sustained change will require building in-school capacity. The school coaches that will be provided as part of the “New School Model” have the potential to help schools develop capacity for sustained and significant improvement. To achieve this, the new coaches will need to have a specific mandate to support school-wide improvement, including working with principals to develop instructional leadership. In implementing coaching, the most effective use of resources would be to prioritise those schools in greatest need according to the risk assessment and authorisation processes.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 4.2. Developing an external school evaluation model over the medium to long term

School authorisation is a helpful, short-term method for instilling school accountability. In the long term, however, Georgia will need to develop a full school evaluation model. The country has already developed new draft standards for the authorisation of public schools, which go beyond the existing authorisation standards by focusing on school quality. These can be built upon to create standards that underpin a full-fledged evaluation system.

To support school evaluation, however, several materials and structures of the education system will need to be strengthened. The draft standards, while a significant improvement over their predecessor, can still focus more on school improvement and less on compliance. Furthermore, Georgia currently lacks a cadre of qualified school evaluators. Identifying and developing these individuals will be vital to ensuring successful school evaluation.

Recommendation 4.2.1. Develop a model of school evaluation that supports schools to improve teaching and learning

School evaluation is now recognised in most OECD countries and many non-member states as being an essential lever to monitor school quality, encourage future improvement and provide school-level accountability (OECD, 2013[3]). The latter is particularly important in the context of the international trend towards increasing autonomy at the school-level. School evaluation processes also direct the provision of support when countries are introducing major educational reform to help schools understand and prepare to implement planned changes. In Georgia, decentralisation of management and comprehensive curriculum reform mean that introducing school evaluation will be particularly helpful in ensuring that schools meet basic minimum standards. However, the challenges of introducing external evaluation are significant. The country’s plans to introduce it gradually provides the necessary space to develop appropriate tools and build evaluative and school leadership capacity.

Anchor the new evaluation standards in a clear vision for a good school

In an increasing number of OECD and non-member countries, school evaluation is guided by a vision of a good school (OECD, 2013[3]). A school vision sets out the key characteristics of what makes a good school and help schools and evaluators understand what they are working towards. It communicates the overall objectives of school evaluation, such as improving school quality, which helps prevent evaluations from becoming overly focused on compliance or a box checking exercise. A school vision can also help to communicate and focus schools on national priorities, such as the “New School Model” in Georgia.

In Georgia, developing a school vision that communicates the formative, developmental function of the new school evaluation model will be particularly important to allay schools’ fears that it might be used for punitive purposes. In the past, school principals had been fired for low results on the examination at the end of upper secondary, the Secondary Graduation Examination (SGE). When developing its national definition of a good school, Georgia can draw on the experience of countries that have developed similar visions. Many OECD economies, such as Australia, Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland, have developed a definition of what makes for good schooling (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2015[7]; OECD, 2013[3]). Among non-member countries, the Kingdom of Morocco has put its own “New School Model” at the centre of its national vision. It is framed around the key principles of equity and equality of opportunities, education quality for all and the promotion of individuals and society (Conseil Supérieur de l’Education, 2015[16]).

Revise the draft standards for school to focus more on school quality and improvement

In 2018, Georgia began developing new school standards with the purpose of focusing less on inputs and more on school quality processes and outcomes (see Box 4.3). The new standards cover many areas known to be important for creating an effective school environment. These include the school’s management, the quality of teaching and learning and assessment practices (OECD, 2013[3]).

copy the linklink copied!
Box 4.3. Georgia’s new school evaluation standards

Georgia’s draft standards for external school evaluation are organised around the following areas:

  1. 1. School mission and strategic development, including:

    • The school mission reflects national education goals.

    • The school has a long-term strategic plan and action plan.

  2. 2. Creating a positive school culture

    • The school provides a safe, caring and cooperative environment and offers equal conditions for all students to demonstrate their capabilities.

  3. 3. Planning, managing and assessing learning, including:

    • School curriculum:

      • The school community is involved in the development of the school’s curriculum, and the curriculum reflects national legislation.

      • The school has an inclusive education strategy to meet the needs of different learners.

    • Teaching quality:

      • Teachers take into account students’ different learning approaches and interests.

      • Students have equal learning opportunities.

    • Student assessment:

      • The school has assessment policies and a variety of assessment strategies are used.

      • Students are provided with regular feedback on their progress.

      • Assessment results are analysed to improve teaching and learning.

  4. 4. Material, training and information resources (to be developed in collaboration with the Infrastructure Agency).

  5. 5. Management, leadership and organisational development, including:

    • School management is effective and transparent.

    • Internal school quality assurance mechanisms are effectively implemented.

While more quality focused than previous school authorisation standards (see Box 4.1), these draft standards are still concerned with ensuring that schools have certain documents, policies or processes in place rather than specifying how the quality of these processes should be evaluated. There are also a number of gaps in the evaluation framework in terms of key areas of the school environment that are known to be important for educational quality. Before Georgia implements its new model for school evaluation, it should revise its draft standards to address the above issues, in particular by:

  • Taking into account student outcomes – such as retention and achievement. These measures are especially important at the upper secondary level, where student drop out is comparatively high (see chapter 1). Student outcomes on the UEE can be used currently and, when Georgia implements a national assessment, these results should also be used to further focus school evaluation on student learning. Nevertheless, any measure of learning and general student outcomes should take into account a school’s context, in particular its location and student profile, since these are known to significantly impact learning outcomes in general and in Georgia specifically.

  • Equity – such as student outcomes by different linguistic groups and socio-economic backgrounds. In Georgia, both of the latter are strong determinants of a students’ learning outcomes. This criteria should also consider how teaching, learning and school-level policies are adapted to meet different students’ needs. The current draft standards focus on the importance of students’ equal access to learning opportunities. However, since all students have different starting points, interests and backgrounds it is also important to include indicators that describe effective processes for adapting teaching and learning to the individual needs of each student, so that all students make good progress at school.

  • Quality of teaching, learning – while the new standards recognise the importance of the quality of instruction, the indicators in the framework focus almost exclusively on the presence of various policies and systems. For example, the indicators for systems to report student progress are information preparation forms, reports, presentations, etc. Far more important than the presence of such systems and processes is their quality and how far they help students understand where they currently are in their learning and what they need to focus on in the future.

  • Support for teachers’ professional growth – teachers’ participation in external training and professional development within the school (see chapter 3).

  • A school’s self-evaluation practices – for example, to what extent does the self-evaluation report identify key issues for improvement and how are evaluation results being used to inform the school’s development plan?

Most OECD and EU education systems have, over the years, limited the number of core indicators in their school evaluation frameworks to steer evaluation towards in-depth reviews of processes rather than compliance-based box checking. Having fewer core indicators also helps focus attention on what matters most in the national context. The indicators can then be adapted at lower levels to address municipal or school specific needs. Box 4.4 shows the three areas and fifteen core indicators from the school inspection framework in Scotland, which is recognised for its brevity and clarity of purpose. As Georgia’s draft standards appear to be relatively heavy and complicated, it can draw on this example to make the final standards more coherent and tightly focused.

copy the linklink copied!
Box 4.4. Indicators for school evaluation in Scotland

The fourth edition of the school evaluation framework in Scotland, “How good is our school?” is composed of 15 quality indicators divided in three domains: leadership and management, learning provision and successes and achievements. While different sources of information are evaluated to inform the evaluation of each indicator, only one rating is provided for each indicator. The complete set of indicators is shown below.

copy the linklink copied!
Table 4.2. School evaluation indicators from Scotland

Domains

Leadership and Management

Learning Provision

Successes and achievements

Indicators

1.1 Self-evaluation for self-improvement

2.1 Safeguarding and

child protection

3.1 Ensuring well-being,

equality and inclusion

1.2 Leadership of learning

2.2 Curriculum

3.2 Raising attainment and achievement

1.3 Leadership of change

2.3 Learning, teaching

and assessment

3.3 Increasing creativity and employability

1.4 Leadership and management of staff

2.4 Personalised support

1.5 Management of resources to promote equity

2.5 Family learning

2.6 Transitions

2.7 Partnerships

Source: Education Scotland (2015[17]), How good is our school? 4th edition, https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Documents/Frameworks_SelfEvaluation/FRWK2_NIHeditHGIOS/FRWK2_HGIOS4.pdf (accessed on 14 March 2019).

Develop the materials and central capacity needed to support the implementation of the school evaluation framework

Implementing a school evaluation framework will necessitate supporting schools as they undergo evaluation. Principals will not be familiar with the procedures and will require careful guidance so they can prepare their staff to be evaluated and execute the tasks expected of them. A key component of supporting schools is to provide them with the necessary resources. These include materials:

  • about how a judgement of school quality is formed vis-à-vis indicators

  • that explain the components of a school visit

  • that explain how to conduct a classroom observation

  • that explain the evaluation process to schools.

It is important that these materials be made available for all schools to see as this creates a transparent and trusted process. To this end it is recommended that the ministry develop a school evaluation website that can hold these materials and other related resources.

Presently, NCEQE staff do not have the relevant background to develop these kinds of resources. There is, therefore, an urgent need to develop NCEQE’s capacity in the areas of measuring teaching and learning. One way of developing this capacity is connecting NCEQE with networks of school inspectorates, such as the Standing International Conference of Inspectorates. NCEQE can then directly draw on and learn from practices that other countries have built over the course of many years.

Make the consequences of external evaluations support school improvement

In order for school evaluation to lead to improvement, schools needs to receive specific, targeted advice that helps them understand what they need to do next. Schools that require significant improvement will also need to be supported by external help and guidance.

As Georgia develops its new model for school evaluation, it will need to consider how the evaluation report should be developed to best support school improvement. An effective report will help a school to understand what its strengths are so that it can build on them. Reports also need to provide schools with a clear description of where improvements are needed, as illustrated by specific examples from the evaluation team’s visit. Finally, to support schools to develop their own capacity for improvement, evaluation reports should provide schools with specific feedback on their self-evaluation practices and what can be improved.

Second, the country will need to clarify the consequences of evaluation results for schools. The draft evaluation standards propose to introduce four possible school ratings: fully compliant, mostly compliant, partially compliant and non-compliant, with non-compliant schools facing closure. While school evaluations can influence decisions on school closure, most countries prefer to provide intensive support to help schools address failings. School closure is considered a last resort because it is disruptive for students and imposes significant logistical challenges (OECD, 2013[3]). Georgia should consider creating a similar process for schools that fall into the non-compliant category. This process can build on the external school support to be provided by ERCs and school coaches as part of authorisation (see Recommendation 4.1.2).

Finally, Georgia might also consider publishing the evaluation reports. While there is a risk that the publication of school reports can encourage schools to focus on their evaluation ratings alone, publication can encourage healthy competition across schools and has been shown to be associated with improvements in school quality (Ehren et al., 2013[18]). Providing students and parents with more transparent information about school quality is also an essential complement to the school choice model that Georgia is trying to promote.

Communicate the role of external school evaluation to schools and teachers

In the short term, the application of the authorisation standards to public schools will help them become accustomed to the concept of external evaluation and feedback. However, the shift towards school quality and improvement that the new evaluation model represents will be a major change. If schools are to appropriate evaluation as a useful tool to support their own improvement, they will need to understand that this is a developmental, formative process. Using national consultation to develop a good school vision will certainly help to communicate the new evaluation model. Other measures include:

  • Training for principals on external school evaluation. Principals need to understand how they can prepare their schools for an evaluation visit. This information could be provided to principals via the previously recommended school evaluation website. Principals should then be expected to organise similar school-level sessions (e.g. with the school board and parents) to disseminate information.

  • ERCs organising cross-school events. These events would provide opportunities for schools to share their questions and concerns about school evaluation, become familiar with the process and discuss ways in which an external evaluation can be helpful to the school.

  • Sharing good practices across schools. NCEQE could build on its idea that schools identified as being “good” through authorisation become advisors to other schools. Schools identified as having good processes (e.g. effective strategies for improvement, providing inclusive learning environment, supporting teachers effectively and using self-evaluation to critically reflect and find constructive solutions) could receive public recognition and be asked to partner with other local schools.

Recommendation 4.2.2. Develop capacity for external evaluations

Implementing a new evaluation model will require a significant strengthening of Georgia’s school evaluation capacity, in terms of both numbers and expertise. Of particular importance will be identifying a pool of capable external evaluators (given their current functions and relationships with schools, ERC staff cannot be expected to fill this role). Furthermore, the capacity of NCEQE staff will also need to be improved so they become more familiar with teaching and learning in Georgia and can use this understanding to steer school evaluation policy.

Ensure that new school evaluators have the skills and knowledge needed to assess the quality of teaching and learning practices

Georgia currently contracts experts to undertake school authorisations and, at the time of the OECD team’s visit, was planning to recruit more to meet the needs of external school evaluation. Contracting evaluators is common in many countries since it provides the country’s inspectorate with the flexibility to work with evaluators with broad and diverse experiences without the costs of maintaining a large body of permanent staff. In most countries, contracted inspectors are combined with a permanent body of evaluators, which is important to maintain quality and consistency and enables the on-going development of evaluation capacity and processes. Georgia might consider a similar model so that it has a corps of evaluators that it can invest in and rely upon to help implement external evaluation and develop core instruments.

The additional evaluators that Georgia wishes to hire need to meet high standards of experience, expertise and understanding of the new school evaluation model. The latter is difficult because reaching a judgement about teaching and schooling quality is naturally subjective and therefore difficult to do in a fair and consistent way. Georgia already takes a number of steps to identify competent evaluators. For example, they are required to have teaching experience, which is important as it indicates that they have the experience needed to evaluate schools and to provide feedback. Teaching experience is also important for the perceived legitimacy of evaluation in schools. This criteria might be expanded to require demonstrated experience and understanding of school improvement. Practitioners, especially previous school principals, could provide important insights in this area. As discussed below (see Recommendation 4.3.2), moving into external school evaluations on a full-time or ad-hoc basis might be one career development opportunity for effective school principals.

In Georgia, recruited evaluators already receive training in how to use the existing standards. This training will need to be re-developed in line with the new evaluation standards. During this process, it will be important not just to convey the content of the new standards, but also help evaluators understand the fundamental purpose of the new evaluation model. Evaluators will also need practical experience of how to conduct evaluation. For example, they should have opportunities to undertake mock school evaluations and receive feedback, and participate in real school evaluations before they are accredited to become evaluators. Evaluators should also have opportunities for hands-on learning in the key competencies that are important for evaluators, such as how to provide feedback that is helpful and constructive to schools.

The OECD understands that Georgia is also considering using staff from ERCs as external evaluators. While such a measure would increase school evaluation capacity in hard to reach areas, the review team does not think that this type of measure would be effective overall. ERC staff are familiar with communicating between the ministry and schools, not with evaluating school quality. Furthermore, they have already established relationships with schools and would not be able to evaluate them objectively.

Reconsider the role of the Council

While the Council members have significant experience and expertise in education, they are not well-positioned to form a judgement about an individual school because they are not directly involved in school authorisation visits. This concern will be accentuated when school evaluation is implemented because evaluators must draw on what they see and hear in a school to form a nuanced judgement of its performance. The Council’s lengthy individual review of each school report will also no longer be feasible once authorisation and then evaluation is extended to all the country’s schools.

However, the Council is seen to provide important independence for authorisation decisions. The Council members are also experienced with teaching and learning, expertise that NCEQE currently lacks. As a new model of school evaluation with a greater focus on school quality is implemented, this experience will become even more important. In most OECD countries, the school inspectorate itself occupies an influential role in the country’s education system. Inspectorate leadership advises the Ministry of Education on education policy. The presence of another evaluation-related body, such as Georgia’s Council, is uncommon.

The OECD recommends that the role of the Council be revised over the short- and long-term to bring the country more in line with internationally evaluation recognised processes. In the short term, as authorisations are extended to all schools, the Council might review the quality and fairness of the authorisation process. Practically, this might mean that the Council meets every six months or annually to review the authorisation process and how it is being applied to public schools. They could focus on a representative sample of decisions in terms of context, and authorisation and risk assessment results. Their review might focus on questions such as how far are a school’s results justified and substantiated, and how useful were recommendations and feedback to schools. Importantly, the Council would not necessarily render judgement on individual decisions of authorisation, just on the quality of the procedures as a whole.

In the future, Georgia will need to seriously reconsider the role of the Council. It is neither practical nor fair that the Council provide a judgement about a school in whose evaluation it was not involved. Georgia should consider creating an independent school inspectorate, as is the practice in many OECD and non-member countries. The inspectorate would remain affiliated to the ministry, but have its own multi-year budget and work plan to ensure its independence. Staff in the inspectorate and especially the leadership, who could be current Council members, should possess deep experience of school improvement so that they have the legitimacy and credibility to assume responsibility for the quality of the country’s schools. The inspectorate’s independence should be balanced by accountability and transparency mechanisms to ensure the fairness and quality of its work. These mechanisms can include publishing an annual report on its activities and the extent to which it has achieved its objectives, and clear procedures to receive and address complaints.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 4.3. Creating the foundations for school-led improvement

The vast majority of Georgia’s schools complete self-evaluations annually. However, there is broad acknowledgement nationally across policy-makers and school practitioners that self-evaluation is not yet supporting school improvement. At the heart of the issue is that schools have not yet appropriated self-evaluation as an internal tool, integrated into their management cycles, to support improvement.

This situation reflects the fact that, despite the decentralisation reforms over the past decade, building capacity for school-level leadership has not received sufficient attention in Georgia. In contrast to international trends towards the development of principals as instructional leaders, the principal role in Georgia is not clearly defined. Teachers become principals without having the background or preparation to meet the requirements of the position. Schools also receive little support to undertake self-evaluation or to understand its purpose. The OECD team’s interviews revealed that this means, in many schools, self-evaluation is frequently limited to a cut and paste exercise to meet external requirements.

In recent years, the importance of more school-level support has been recognised. School-based professional development models like G-PriEd have been developed. Principals have also received dedicated training through the MCC principal academies. The “New School Model” promises to provide direct support for schools and principals. The following recommendations suggest how these initiatives can be built on to help schools lead their own improvement efforts.

Recommendation 4.3.1. Support schools to use self-evaluation effectively

Effective self-evaluation requires significant in-school and external capacity. OECD countries with long-standing traditions of self-evaluation – like England and Scotland in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and New Zealand – have developed and refined their evaluation processes over decades. Over time, extensive external guidance, models and templates have been created in these countries to support schools so they can lead quality self-evaluation exercises that are adapted to their needs and spur a culture of on-going learning and improvement.

In contrast, schools in Georgia receive very little support on how to undertake self-evaluation in a meaningful way. The NAEC and MCC project on self-evaluation identified two key challenges that Georgia’s schools face when using self-evaluation. First, they are not confident in leading self-evaluation. Second, they find it difficult to clearly formulate indicators and identify data sources (NAEC, 2018[15]). Both these challenges point to broader issues around the lack of preparation and support for self-evaluation in schools. These issues are accentuated by a self-evaluation exercise that lacks a clearly defined purpose and a process that requires schools to focus on complying with a rigid set of indicators. By contrast, the hallmark of effective self-evaluation internationally is schools feeling empowered to appropriate and adapt self-evaluation guidelines to identify and achieve their own objectives (OECD, 2013[3]).

This recommendation discusses how self-evaluation in Georgia can be re-designed to become a more useful, less burdensome tool for schools. It also suggests the kinds of supports that need to be developed so that, over time, schools develop the capacity to adapt self-evaluation to be most meaningful for their own contexts.

Define the purpose of self-evaluation

First, schools in Georgia must perceive self-evaluation as a valuable exercise and good use of their time. At present, however, the purpose of self-evaluation is not well-defined. Schools in Georgia undertake self-evaluation at least once every three years and send their reports to the NCEQE. The vast majority of schools – public schools – have not received any feedback or follow-up on their reports. The lack of follow-up and, more fundamentally, a clear purpose for self-evaluation, has contributed to the perception in most schools that it is an externally set exercise from which they derive little value.

As Georgia extends authorisation to its public schools, there is opportunity to clarify within the ministry and to schools what the purpose of self-evaluation is and why schools should engage with it. The ministry should make clear that self-evaluation is primarily a developmental exercise intended to help schools improve the quality of their processes and outcomes (OECD, 2013[3]). How self-evaluation is referenced in the revised authorisation standards also matters. The outcomes of self-evaluation should be taken as a key source of evidence for evaluators, and school evaluation indicators must go beyond looking at whether school is conducting a self-evaluation to examining the quality of this process and how the school is using the results to drive improvement. Finally, self-evaluation can also be integrated into the “New School Model”, which would further communicate its purpose and importance through key policy initiatives.

Help schools makes fuller use of self-evaluation results

Once the purpose of self-evaluation is more clearly defined, it needs to be reflected in how self-evaluation is used. At present, requesting all schools to share their self-evaluation reports without providing feedback undermines schools’ perceptions of the exercise’s value and utility. It also reinforces the perception of self-evaluation as an externally dictated process that is not linked to schools’ annual planning cycle or needs.

Georgia should consider which actor(s) can provide useful guidance to schools based upon the reports they submit. In line with this review’s recommendation that the role of ERCs’ shift towards school-level support, ERCs could provide more immediate and direct feedback to schools on their self-evaluation reports and how to use the results for improvement planning. This could be part of a more open dialogue between schools and ERCs on improvement, and not a linked to a specific requirement that schools share their self-evaluation reports with ERCs according to a set timetable. In order to encourage schools to take the self-evaluation reports seriously, they might also be a source of evidence for the risk assessment model (see Recommendation 4.1.1).

So that the insights from self-evaluation feed into policy-making, and in particular the design and implementation of full external school evaluation in the future, ERCs can be required to provide an annual analysis of the reports from their municipalities to the ministry. This analysis could aggregate the results of all schools in the municipality and determine which needs are more prevalent in certain areas of the country. To help enhance their own work, a regional or national meeting of ERCs could be organised to discuss key findings from municipal-level analyses with a view to identifying ways in which staff can better support schools in making self-evaluation a meaningful exercise.

In the short term, develop a simplified model of self-evaluation that supports school authorisations

For a country like Georgia that is in the nascent stages of developing a school self-evaluation system, a standardised self-evaluation report template can provide helpful support and guidance to schools. However, the current form is a prescriptive checklist of separate indicators. It should be re-designed to encourage schools to review holistically how they are doing across the three areas of the authorisation standards. At the same time, Georgia can ask schools to respond to a series of open-ended questions that would encourage schools to focus on the processes, evidence and questions that are recognised to be important for effective self-evaluation (OECD, 2013[3]). This would provide each school with greater flexibility to tailor self-evaluation to their context and priorities. It would also develop in-school capacity for evaluation and objective setting. For example, across each of the authorisation standards, schools could be required to consider:

  • How are we doing? What is the evidence for this? What does the data show, what do staff say, what do pupils say?

  • What could we do better?

  • What do we plan to improve over the next two years?

  • How we will measure our progress?

Help schools exploit available data

Data and evidence must play a central role in schools’ processes to reflect on performance and set future targets. Research on school evaluation often places data, including quantitative data like student learning outcomes and “soft data” like surveys and interviews (NCSL, n.d.[19]), at the centre of process. In the schools that the OECD team visited, however, there was no practice of using metrics like assessment results or student participation data to monitor performance. Data from PISA also suggest that schools in Georgia record and make use of data far less than in other countries (OECD, 2016[1]). One likely reason is that schools find it difficult to know which data to use and how to use it, as suggested by a NAEC study (NAEC, 2018[15]). Another is that data, while widely available, is difficult to analyse because of the lack of easy-to-use tools (see chapter 5).

To help schools develop a better understanding of how they can best exploit data, the ministry could do far more to provide them with data in an accessible format. For example, once the list of indicators for the risk assessment model are developed, the ministry can make this information available to schools or even pre-populate self-evaluation forms with the information. Schools should also be able to see the established minimum thresholds for indicators so that each school has a sense of where it stands nationally. Data should also be compared to regional and national benchmarks, along with groups of schools with similar characteristics (e.g. other rural schools and schools with similar student profiles). Schools should also be provided with more external resources about how they can collect more qualitative information, such as how to design and organise staff focus groups and student surveys, and how the collected information can be used for self-evaluation.

Provide more external support for self-evaluation

As well as creating a simpler, more helpful framework for self-evaluation, schools will require far more external support to really engage in genuine evaluative activities. In line with this report’s recommendation that ERCs’ mandate be changed to one of school support (see Recommendation 4.1.2), ERCs can help orient schools during their self-evaluations. While ERC staff do not have specific expertise in school self-evaluation, they can be expected to provide practical support, such as guiding schools through the process and critically questioning a school’s self-evaluation report. ERCs can also help by pairing schools together (e.g. weaker schools with stronger schools) to encourage collaboration and peer learning.

Another important source of support will be the new school coaches under the “New School Model”. The coaches are intended to work closely with individual schools to understand their strengths and challenges so that they will be well-positioned to support schools to use self-evaluation to achieve their priorities. To ensure that the coaches have sufficient time for this role, it should be an explicit part of their role with dedicated time.

ERC staff and school coaches will need to receive the necessary support and training for their role in supporting schools’ self-evaluation. Since the NAEC study revealed the challenges that schools face in undertaking self-evaluation, the training and preparation that ERC staff and school coaches receive should be informed by the project’s findings.

Finally, the ministry should expand the online supports for schools’ self-evaluation practices. Schools in most OECD countries can draw on a wealth of online resources about how to undertake self-evaluation. In Georgia, guidance and documentation related to self-evaluation can be put on the previously recommended school evaluation website (see Recommendation 4.2.1). One particularly useful self-evaluation tool that should be used is examples of effective self-evaluation processes in other schools. In Scotland, the United Kingdom, many local authorities showcase online examples of effective self-evaluation processes and reports from local schools (Education Scotland, n.d.[20]).

In the long-term, develop a comprehensive self-evaluation framework

Once a more simplified, useful self-evaluation process is implemented, schools in Georgia over time will develop greater capacity for self-evaluation and to lead improvement. At the same time, the wider system of school evaluation and support – including school evaluators, ERCs and online school supports – will also mature and develop. This will create a context that can better support a comprehensive self-evaluation framework that is focused on improvement.

Once Georgia has developed new standards for external school evaluation (see Recommendation 4.2.1), Georgia should develop a self-evaluation framework around the new external school evaluation standards. Similar to developing indicators for external, evaluation, Georgia should focus on keeping the list of self-evaluation indicators relatively short and focused on core areas for school improvement. These areas should be determined by national policy objectives such as improving student learning (see chapter 2), and concerns like improving equity.

In creating the new self-evaluation framework, Georgia should also consider how schools can be provided with flexibility to adapt the framework to their local contexts. In many OECD countries such as England (United Kingdom), Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Scotland (United Kingdom), schools are not expected to follow a central self-evaluation form. Instead, they have the freedom to design self-evaluation to meet their own needs, guided by the overall framework for school evaluation. This approach is important to help schools take ownership of self-evaluation.

As schools in Georgia develop capacity for self-evaluation, they should progressively acquire greater flexibility in conducting self-evaluation. For example, when the new self-evaluation framework is first introduced, schools may have the option of adding one or two additional indicators to reflect their own priorities. They can then add more in subsequent self-evaluations and be given the flexibility not to measure some central indicators that are less relevant to their contexts.

Finally, schools will need significant support to implement the self-evaluation framework. The ministry should consider how the initial self-evaluation support provided by ERCs, school coaches and online should be adapted to help schools transition towards a more improvement-focused model. Consideration should also be given to providing dedicated training for school leaders and other members of the school community who are expected to contribute to self-evaluation, which is the case in most OECD countries (OECD, 2013[3]).

Recommendation 4.3.2. Build school leadership for improvement

Effective school leadership is a critical component to school-led improvement. The OECD team’s interviews revealed that one of the key challenges to developing school principals as instructional leaders in Georgia is the absence of support and incentives. Once principals enter the school leadership role, there are few incentives, in terms of salary or possibilities for career development, for them to improve their skills. This absence of incentive to develop is matched by little available professional development opportunities for principals, which further prevents them from improving themselves. Finally, despite the concerns about principal capacity, they are given significant autonomy in school management, and there are few mechanisms to keep them accountable for their decisions or the quality of their school leadership.

This chapter’s recommendations to strengthen the overall system for school evaluation will help to create stronger oversight and support for the principal role. This recommendation suggests that principals receive more targeted support and be given incentives to develop.

Identify and support potential school leaders

Georgia should take steps to clearly define the role of principals so that it becomes a conscious career choice for talented teachers with leadership potential. Possible steps that can be taken include:

  • Reviewing principal standards. Georgia’s current standards reflect more of a job description than the specific competencies, accompanied by practical examples, that are associated with effective school leadership (MoESCS, 2010[21]). Therefore, Georgia should review its principal standards so they reflect the expectations from the “New School Model” and wider changes to teaching and learning envisaged under the new curriculum. The standards should also be compared to those of other countries where the school leadership role is well-established, such as Australia, Ontario (Canada) and Scotland (OECD, 2013[3]).

  • Developing a process to identify teachers with leadership potential. Georgia could use its revised appraisal system, especially regular appraisal when it is introduced (see chapter 3), to identify teachers with the motivation and skills for leadership. This is the case in Singapore, where future school leaders are chosen from successful teachers already in the education system. Young teachers are continuously assessed for their leadership potential and are given the opportunity to develop their leadership capacity (Schleicher, 2015[8]).

  • Creating better awareness of the expectations of the job. The ministry might consider developing a specific programme to introduce would-be principals to the demands of the job. In Denmark, teachers who may want to have a leadership position can begin to understand the different components of becoming a school leader through a “taster” course offered by local school districts or municipalities. The course consists of theoretical assignments, case studies, personal reflections, discussions with a mentor about career opportunities, personal strengths and areas for development and networking (Schleicher, 2015[8]).

  • Introducing mandatory preparation for the role of principal. In contrast to the situation in Georgia, the majority of principals in other TALIS-participating countries received dedicated preparation in school leadership either before or after taking up their position. Roughly 54% of principals from OECD countries say they received training in school administration before becoming a principal, compared to 28% of principals in Georgia (OECD, 2019[9]). The optional leadership academies organised by the MCC in Georgia have been well-received and attended by principals. The ministry might use the insights from this training to design new initial and continuous education courses for principals. The ministry should also make some initial preparation a mandatory requirement to become a principal.

These steps should go alongside a review of the current principal examination. While examinations can help to identify certain prerequisites such a basic educational knowledge, they are not an effective means to discriminate the broad range of capacities and personal skills that are essential for school leaders. When Georgia has developed a new initial preparation programme for the new principals, the programme’s content and continuous assessment should primarily focus on principals’ basic educational and legal knowledge. This would create space to focus principal recruitment more directly on identifying candidates with the competencies to be an effective school leader. Increasingly in OECD countries, principal recruitment is based on a longer selection process that aims to assess the full range of a candidate’s capacities and personal skills. The process might include a traditional interview, but also school visits, presentations and an assessment of the specific competencies required for the position, alongside the measures suggested above with respect to developing a leadership pipeline (OECD, 2008[22]).

Incentivise principals to develop

In Georgia, it was repeatedly reported to the OECD team that principals have few incentives to develop professionally once they enter the role. This reflects existing concerns about both a principals’ salary and their career development options.

To complement Georgia’s recent reforms to teacher pay, the structure of principals’ salaries should be reviewed to fairly award principals for their increasing experience and practice. In addition, the country should consider introducing financial incentives for working in schools in remote areas, given the challenges of staffing them. A number of European countries take a school’s characteristics into account when calculating a principal’s salary. These characteristics include the size of the school, its location, the provision of differentiated teaching and the offer of special programmes, for instance for linguistic minorities (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[23]).

It will also be important to think more consciously about principals’ on-going professional development. The measures suggested in this report – principal appraisal, external school evaluation that evaluates school leadership and more professional development opportunities – will help recognise and support the principal role. Steps could also be taken to create more dedicated career development options. While not all countries have a dedicated career development scheme for principals, there are a few steps that Georgia could consider to incentivise principals to keep developing, such as:

  • Facilitating the placement of high-performing principals in schools that are identified (by authorisation and later evaluation) as having the greatest needs. Working in a school in significant need of improvement should be recognised as an important career development opportunity for the most capable school leaders. Principals might also receive a financial bonus to move into such posts.

  • Providing opportunities for high-performing principals to move into different posts at the regional level or in school evaluation. Effective principals might be offered opportunities to work in ERCs, as school coaches or as a lead school evaluator. This would provide variety to their role and ensure that their significant school experience contributes to systemic improvement.

  • Creating school leadership networks at the municipal level. Through these networks, strong principals and principals in need of improvement can connect with each other, with the expectation that the former mentor the latter. For this to occur, schools would need to have leadership teams so that leadership responsibilities can be maintained while principals engage in peer learning. Several countries, including New Zealand and Singapore, have facilitated mentoring between principals (OECD, 2017[24]).

Introduce appraisal for principals with accountability mechanisms

An important complement to greater support for principals will be to enhance their accountability. This is particularly important in Georgia as principals have significant autonomy for school and staff management and school-wide instruction.

In theory, principals in Georgia should be appraised by the school board. However, in practice, the limited capacity of the boards and the absence of national guidance means that this does not take place. In a number of OECD countries, school boards also have a role in appraising school principal (OECD, 2015[4]). However, in these countries there are efforts to build the capacity of school boards through training and central guidance about how to execute their responsibilities. Providing similar support for boards in Georgia would require a major investment. Given the widespread reforms across the country’s education sector, another actor might be encouraged to take on the principal appraisal role instead.

One option is to appoint an external evaluator to appraise principals. This could be the same external evaluator that this review suggests leads teacher probation and promotion appraisals (see chapter 3). In developing a new principal appraisal system, the focus should be on developing a light and useful process. In line with the most common source of evidence for principal appraisal in OECD countries, the process can be organised around an interview between the principal and evaluator (OECD, 2015[4]). Guided by the new principal standards, the interview would focus on what measures the principal has taken to improve teaching and learning at their school.

The appraisal should be formative, providing the principal with constructive feedback. To encourage a link to professional development, principals might be expected to use the interview to develop a personal development plan setting out the professional development opportunities they intend to pursue. The appraisal could also be used to explore future career development opportunities for principals, like opportunities to take on other roles alongside their principal job or roles outside the school (e.g. an external school evaluator).

The appraisal should also have some consequences. One would be linking good appraisal performances to regular and incremental salary increases which would help to incentivise principals to develop. To detect and act upon underperformance, principals who receive more than one negative appraisal might receive additional support as well as more regular follow-up.

Revise the role of school boards

Georgia’s school boards are currently not fulfilling the school management function that they were originally intended to fill (Transparency International, n.d.[2]). This chapter suggests that some of the boards’ key oversight and accountability functions be moved to specialised bodies or actors with the requisite capacity and resources. These responsibilities include:

  • accountability for school performance, which needs to be strengthened through external school authorisation and later school evaluation

  • the financial auditing of school budgets, which should be introduced and then led by trained staff in ERCs

  • principal appraisal, where a formal process needs to be put in place and led by an external evaluator.

Reducing the statutory functions that boards are expected to fulfil will create space to redesign their role in a way that is more useful for schools. To define the future role of boards, Georgia should undertake a national consultation of board members, principals and the wider school community. At a minimum and based on recognised good practice across other countries, the boards can be expected to represent the views of the wider school community, notably parents and students, and to engage the local community. This link will be particularly important in Georgia to help explain the impact of widespread educational changes (e.g. reforms to the curriculum and examinations) to parents. This role might be accompanied by a requirement to organise events or activities for parents and the wider community, such as information evenings or open school days.

As Georgia redefines its boards, it should also draw on research which has highlighted a number of characteristics of effective boards. These include clarifying the boards’ role, in particular how they are expected to work with the school principal. Selection processes for boards should assess whether members possess key skills and are highly engaged. Finally, board members need some training on basic issues like school governance and improvement to effectively perform their functions (OECD, 2008[22])

copy the linklink copied!Recommendations

copy the linklink copied!

Policy issue

Recommendations

Actions

4.1. Reaching all schools for authorisation

4.1.1. Develop a risk assessment model to guide the provisional authorisation of public schools

Identify indicators for the risk assessment model

Develop minimum thresholds for indicators

4.1.2. Focus ERCs on supporting schools

Reduce/end ERCs’ mandate for compliance checking

Reform ERCs to provide school-level support for improvement

Develop a model for ERCs’ support to schools

Reinforce ERCs’ role in financial auditing

Use the new school coaches to provide intensive support for teaching and learning

4.2. Developing an external school evaluation model over the medium to long term

4.2.1. Develop a model of school evaluation that supports schools to improve teaching and learning

Anchor the new evaluation standards in a clear vision for a good school

Revise the draft standards for school to focus more on school quality and improvement

Develop the materials and central capacity needed to support the implementation of the school evaluation framework

Make the consequences of external evaluations support school improvement

Communicate the role of external school evaluation to schools and teachers

4.2.2. Develop capacity for external evaluations

Ensure that new school evaluators have the skills and knowledge needed to assess the quality of teaching and learning practices

Reconsider the role of the Council

4.3. Creating the foundations for school-led improvement

4.3.1. Support schools to use self-evaluation effectively

Define the purpose of self-evaluation

Help schools makes fuller use of self-evaluation results

In the short term, develop a simplified model of self-evaluation that supports school authorisations

Help schools exploit available data

Provide more external support for self-evaluation

In the long-term, develop a comprehensive self-evaluation framework

4.3.2. Build school leadership for improvement

Identify and support potential school leaders

Incentivise principals to develop

Introduce appraisal for principals with accountability mechanisms

Revise the role of school boards

References

[13] Boyle, A. et al. (2000), State Support for School Improvement: School-level Perceptions of Quality Evaluating the Quality of State Support for School Improvement, American Institutes for Research, Washington D.C., http://www.air.org (accessed on 5 December 2018).

[16] Conseil Supérieur de l’Education, D. (2015), A Strategic Vision of Reform 2015 - 2030, https://www.csefrs.ma/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Re%CC%81sume%CC%81-vision-Anglais.pdf (accessed on 14 May 2019).

[10] DuFour, R. (2004), “What Is a Professional Learning Community?”, Educational Leadership, Vol. 61/8, pp. 6-11, http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may04/vol61/num08/What-Is-a-Professional-Learning-Community%C2%A2.aspx.

[17] Education Scotland (2015), How good is our school? (4th edition), https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Documents/Frameworks_SelfEvaluation/FRWK2_NIHeditHGIOS/FRWK2_HGIOS4.pdf (accessed on 14 March 2019).

[20] Education Scotland (n.d.), National Improvement Hub - Self-evaluation, https://education.gov.scot/improvement/self-evaluation (accessed on 12 July 2019).

[18] Ehren, M. et al. (2013), “Impact of school inspections on improvement of schools—describing assumptions on causal mechanisms in six European countries”, Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, Vol. 25/1, pp. 3-43, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11092-012-9156-4.

[23] European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2018), Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2016/17, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, http://dx.doi.org/10.2797/24212 (accessed on 10 January 2019).

[7] European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2015), Assuring quality in education - Policies and approaches to school evaluation in Europe, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/4a2443a7-7bac-11e5-9fae-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (accessed on 14 March 2019).

[21] MoESCS (2010), Approval of the School Principal Standards.

[15] NAEC (2018), Preparation works conducted for launching school self evaluation project, National Assessment and Examination Center, Tbilisi.

[19] NCSL (n.d.), School Self-evaluation: A Reflection and Planning Guide for School Leaders, National College for School Leadership, Nottingham, https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/5951/2/download%3Fid%3D21845%26filename%3Dself-evaluation-a-reflection-and-planning-guide.pdf (accessed on 15 December 2018).

[9] OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1d0bc92a-en.

[24] OECD (2017), Education in Costa Rica, Reviews of National Policies for Education, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264277335-en.

[1] OECD (2016), PISA 2015 Results (Volume II): Policies and Practices for Successful Schools, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264267510-en.

[4] OECD (2015), Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2015-en.

[3] OECD (2013), Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment, OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264190658-en.

[22] OECD (2008), Improving School Leadership, Volume 1: Policy and Practice, Paris Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/education/school/44374889.pdf (accessed on 15 January 2019).

[14] Padilla, C., K. Woodworth and K. Laguarda (2006), Evaluation of title I accountability systems: School-improvement efforts and assistance to identified schools, paper presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

[6] Rudduck, J. (2007), “Student Voice, Student Engagement, And School Reform”, in International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3367-2_23.

[8] Schleicher, A. (2015), Schools for 21st-Century Learners: Strong Leaders, Confident Teachers, Innovative Approaches, International Summit on the Teaching Profession, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264231191-en.

[5] SICI (2003), Effective School Self-Evaluation, Standing International Conference of Inspectorates, Belfast.

[2] Transparency International (n.d.), Setting Georgia’s Schools Free?, Transparency International, Tbilisi, https://www.transparency.ge/sites/default/files/post_attachments/School%20Reform-ENG_0.pdf (accessed on 10 December 2018).

[12] USAID (2018), Georgia Primary Education Project (G-PriEd) - Final Report, USAID, https://www.chemonics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Georgia-Primary-Education-Project-G-PriEd-Final-Report.pdf (accessed on 10 December 2018).

[11] World Bank (2014), SABER Country Report Georgia - Teachers, World Bank Group, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/788461468198234275/pdf/105634-WP-ADD-SERIES-PUBLIC-SABER-Teachers-Georgia-CR-Final-2014.pdf (accessed on 6 January 2019).

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

https://doi.org/10.1787/94dc370e-en

© OECD 2019

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.