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Steven Jay Gross, (215) 204-8064,
Teri Battaglieri, (517) 203-2940,

Review: Education Sector report promoting U.K. school inspections not useful for crafting policy in the United States

EAST LANSING, Mich (February 28, 2012) – A recent report from Education Sector urges American educators to look to an English system of school inspections as a means of assessing schools and as a tool for better understanding and improving student achievement. A new review of that report finds that it lacks any research base and has little to offer any discussions of education reform in the United States.

The report, On Her Majesty's School Inspection Service, by Craig D. Jerald, was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Steven Jay Gross of Temple University. The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Jerald's report offers an outline of the English inspection system, the rubrics it uses to judge teaching, the characteristics of inspectors, and the potential costs of implementing such a system in this country. These descriptions may be useful to many readers in introducing the approach. What the report doesn't offer, according to Gross, is any research to support the efficacy of the approach – or, for that matter, to demonstrate any faults it might have.  He writes:

No research questions are posed and few examples from the extensive literature on English school inspections are offered, thereby excluding scholarship that is critical of the inspection process or of the concept of the inspection service itself.

Lacking any research questions or research-based evidence to analyze, Gross points out that the report is ineffective in three key areas:

  • Building the case for the English inspection system
  • Alerting readers to challenges to that system
  • Illuminating the evaluation of quality teaching under the system

In the end, Gross writes, the report leaves many relevant questions unasked and unanswered.

Find Steven Gross's review on the Great Lakes Center website at:

Find On Her Majesty's School Inspection Service, by Craig D. Jerald, on the web at:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policy makers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review is also available on the National Education Policy Center website at:


The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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