Research Synthesis School Inspection

School inspections are an effective tool for examining the quality of schools. But how effective is this measure? Our research synthesis provides an overview of 30 years of research on school inspections. It shows how effective they are and elaborates recommendations for the design of school inspections in practice.

Research Questions

  • How effective are school inspections (external evaluations)?
  • What factors influence the effectiveness of external evaluations?


  • School inspections have the potential to enforce politically set policies.
  • School inspections seem to contribute to school improvement on a rather small scale.
  • The effectiveness of school inspections depends on the quality of the school inspection itself.
  • The pressure exerted on teachers by a school inspection influence its effectiveness.