School evaluation in Spain: missing leadership?

Antonio Portela, University of Murcia
In spite of national differences, greater accountability combined with increased decentralisation and autonomy (particularly by using high-stakes assessements) is becoming widespread and likely to lead to a reconfiguration of the roles of school leaders. The focus of this article is focused on changes affecting evaluation of Spanish schools and, subsequently, those in a position to play a major role in school evaluation, including school leaders. In addition to an overview of school evaluation in Spain and the the roles of school bodies and leaders in it, the projected use of high-stakes exit assessments in schools as reflected in national regulation is presented and analysed. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of this trend supposedly leading to alignment with the prevailing policy environment. In particular, it is highlighted that schools are increasingly considered as targeted objects to be managed and, accordingly, the managerial role of school leaders is likely to be emphasised, while school evaluation as such is losing importance as an ongoing joint process to promote shared improvements.

Keywords: school evaluation, accountability, school leadership, Spanish education system.


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