Questions and answers

If you have a question about self-assessment that you have not found an answer to, please contact us at cesta@nuovcz and we will try to help. (write Self-evaluation Advisory Centre into the subject line)

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Q1.jpg We have heard that the education law was amended to repeal the self-evaluation report. Is this true?

Yes, the amendment No. 472/2011 Coll. amending Act No. 561/2004 Coll. Education Act as amended was published on 20 December in the Official Gazette (Code, or Collection of Laws) at http://aplikace.mvcr.cz/sbirka-zakonu/ViewFile.aspx?type=z&id=23650. This amendment removed from the Decree No. 15/2005 Coll. the part devoted to school self evaluation. Schools, however, continue to be obliged to carry out the school self-evaluation. Schools have a duty to reflect the results of self-evaluation in the annual report on the activities of the school. Newly, schools do not need to compile a report on school self-evaluation, which is now outside the school's required documentation pursuant to §28. Thus, neither it is binding to discuss the structure of the report with the School Board. The amendment is effective from 1 January 2012.

 

Q1.jpgCan you clarify whether it is necessary to process self-assessment every year if in accordance with Act No. 561/2005 Coll. we are supposed to project the results of self-evaluation in the annual report?

Since the report on school self-evaluation is not compulsory school documentation (removal of the Point e), § 28 of Act No. 561/2004 Coll.), there is no need to base the annual report on the activities of the school on a formalized document which was the report on school self-evaluation. However, the school has the obligation to carry out self-evaluation and base its claims in its annual report on the activities of schools on the findings of the evaluation and possibly be able to substantiate its claims to the Czech School Inspection. This means that if in a given year the school carries out a school climate survey and the management wants to mention it in the annual report, the results of this survey should correspond with the wording of the annual report.

 

Q1.jpgDoes the school have to conduct self-evaluation in all the areas mentioned, or can it choose to start with just a few of them and focus on them?

Under the current legislative amendment, no detailed self-evaluation parameters (structure, content, terms) are set. It is therefore for the school itself to decide how to approach self-evaluation.

We recommend that schools choose areas to pay more attention to, for example those they need to improve, assessing them at shorter intervals. Schools will decide themselves which areas to evaluate annually, for example, and which to assess only once for a longer period of time, however, monitoring of all areas should take place continuously. The annual school will then reflect the results they achieved in a given school year.

We consider it appropriate for the school to strengthen monitoring in different areas gradually and have a devised system in the longer term (when and at what frequency to pursue each area in more details).

 

Q1.jpgIt is possible to use a template, guide or questionnaire suitable for implementing self-assessment?

Such a versatile product that fits all schools is not and should not be available, and hopefully, none of the companies on the Czech market will pass their "product" as the only right self-assessment tool and universal for all schools.

The materials related to self-evaluation suggest that self-assessment is a systematic, regular and structured process in which the school itself surveys and evaluates data on the main areas of its activities. Considering that self-evaluation is based on internal needs of the school and important for the school self-reflection in an effort to change and achieve a higher quality of education in the school, it is not advisable to "publish" a universal instrument, for example a questionnaire for schools just to fill it in a formal way.

We believe that in pursuit of higher quality of the school it is more effective when the school itself chooses (or even creates) an instrument corresponding to the school curriculum and thinks for itself about which areas and criteria to monitor, evaluate, and under which to draw conclusions and choose a strategy for improvement. That is not in conflict when the school at its discretion chooses from outside a tool corresponding with its priorities.

One of the aims of our project was to provide schools with 30 standardized evaluation tools, which have been published on the RVP.CZ portal of evaluation tools. We also held workshops at which representatives of the schools were taught how to use these tools, interpret findings, and determine strategies for improvement.

 

Q1.jpgAn unnamed company has offered us products for self-assessment, suggesting that they will do it for us. Is it still self-assessment then?

It follows from the professional point of view that the school self-evaluation cannot be done for the school by any external body. In practice, however, we have encountered so-called "custom-made self-evaluation".

Such a way of implementing self-evaluation cannot be accepted because it is a misunderstanding of the basic ideas of self-evaluation. The result of this way of performing "self-assessment" is that the evaluation processes is de facto absent in the internal environment of schools, and if present, they are not used for school development, but merely for reporting obligations fulfilled!

The most important step in the process of self-evaluation is an internal transformation of the organization into a learning organization that continuously applies systematic and systemic elements of the reflection of activities so that the learning process of pupils and the whole school is maximally supported, thus reinforcing the role of the school in the learning society.

External entities may secure quality monitoring in various areas or provide support within the meaning of school consulting, educational activities, development of appropriate evaluation tools, as does so the Road to Quality Improvement project.

It is essential that each school realize the purposes for which the service is used, how it relates to its priorities, how to deal with the information provided, and thus how the findings will help it improve the quality in the future.

 

Q1.jpgDo educational institutions have to conduct self-assessment?

No, according to §12, Section 2 of Act No. 561/2004 Coll. of the Education Act, the obligation to process self-evaluation is imposed only on schools, not educational institutions.

 

Q1.jpgWho is the information from the school self-assessment intended for? It should be intended for the school for its own use, not for publication. Will it not be demanded from the school by someone?

The results of self-assessment are important for the school itself. The school analyzes its findings and sets the school improvement strategy. At the same time, the school has to be accountable for its activities.

According to §10, Article 3 of Act No. 561/2004 Coll. of the Education Act, the headmaster prepares an annual report on the activities of the school for the school year. The annual school report is publicly available.

Since according to the §12, Article 5 of Act No. 561/2004 Coll. of the Education Act, evaluation of the school and educational institution can also be carried out by their authority, establishing the rules between self-evaluation (self-assessment) and external evaluation (the school evaluated by the Czech School Inspection or the school authority) is one of the major tasks the solution of which will affect the evaluation environment in the Czech Republic. Recommendations for school authorities/providers for school evaluation are available on the project website.

 

Q1.jpgIn any assessment, comparisons are hidden. How can schools compare themselves through self-evaluation?

The aim of self-assessment is not the comparison of schools. The school, however, at its discretion, may choose one area in which it wishes to know how it stands compared to other schools it has selected. This comparison, which is controlled by the school itself, is called benchmarking. The information thus obtained by the school is a bit more informative to the school itself. In terms of self-evaluation process, it is basically a monitoring part (i.e. a survey) which has to be followed by actual evaluation of the results and setting of priorities for the next period.

A number of evaluation tools by the Road to Quality Improvement contain information about what results a sample of other schools has achieved. This information allows the school to carry out its own and secure comparison.

 

Q1.jpgFrom questions by parents: I am approaching you with a request to answer the following questions. Can we use some of your questionnaires to determine the relationship of children to the school and the class teacher? Can I as a parent initiate filling in such a questionnaire?

To address this problem we may use a number of tools. Or more precisely, if your child attended an upper primary school, there would be more of them as questionnaires are designed for children from the 5th year (e.g. Classroom Climate, Teacher and Pupil Interaction - probably most appropriate for the problem, Questionnaire for Pupils, Pupils' Attitudes to the School).

To address your problem, I would suggest two evaluation tools: 1) Lower Primary Community. A questionnaire for pupils through a computer game. 2) Questionnaire for Parents. In this survey, the school itself selects questions from a large menu to ask parents. It would be appropriate to try to arrange with the school so that you (the parents) could choose those questions that you consider to be crucial at your school. Then it would also be good to promote among parents filling in the survey (it is filled in electronically, a report of results is automatically generated for the school).

Given the fact that you have contacted us, I suppose you know the project website with more detailed information on evaluation tools http://www.nuv.cz/ae/harmonogram-zverejnovani-a-detailnejsi-popis-evaluacnich?highlightWords=ov%C4%9B%C5%99en. Their use must, however, be decided by the school director.

When asked how to initiate the use of questionnaires at school, I would try to discuss the topic with someone from the school management (headmaster, deputy headmaster). An agreement on a solution might follow from this conversation, or at least a plan for the solution, and you would not need to use any evaluation tool. Or the school's position may be in the sense "it is only your opinion, other parents or other children do not have this problem," then the question is whether the management representative would appreciate to talk to more parents (though I do not expect that, in my opinion it is less appropriate due to the possible escalation of the problem), or to offer for use some of the tools of our Road to Quality Improvement project that could bring more specific information in terms of "the problem is perceived by more parents and many children", and therefore it is a problem to be solved. Even the school may need this "evidence" to be able to actively seek a solution.

If you do not know what to do when creating self-assessment of your school and have a question to which you did not find an answer, please contact us at cesta@nuovcz and we will try to help. Call centre for self-evaluation issues, tel.: +420 274 022 416.