In the legislation of 1998, the basic education and general upper secondary education providers were obliged to evaluate their own activities and publish the key results of the evaluation. After 20 years, the statutory obligation has not been realised in all respects.
The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) evaluated the quality management and self-evaluation practices in basic education and general upper secondary education in 2016, assigned by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The national evaluation was carried out as a self-evaluation: the providers evaluated their own practices on a scale of absent–emerging–developing–advanced. Areas of the evaluation included the management of self-evaluation and quality management, preconditions, monitoring and evaluation, as well as development and improvement.
Based on the evaluation, the general level of quality management and the related self-evaluation is emerging. The quality management of well over half (58.7%) of the providers of basic education and general upper secondary education was at the emerging level. Of the remaining providers, 37.8% were at the developing level and 3.5% at the absent level. None of the providers considered themselves to have reached the advanced level.
More support and guidance is needed
The providers saw a lack of resources and the unsystematic nature of the activities, i.e. that they were unestablished or interrupted, as the greatest challenges in their quality management and self-evaluation practices. The most urgent needs for support were related to training, resourcing, and networking, i.e. peer knowledge and cooperation.
Based on their own evaluation, the providers were the most successful in collecting feedback and evaluation data; however, only at the developing level. In contrast, they considered that the publication of evaluation results and their use in improving and developing the activities were at the emerging level. The evaluation activities of some providers, therefore, do not meet the criteria and expectations based on trust, which the legislation of 1998 would require.
In support of the municipal self-government, decisions on quality management and self-evaluation are made at the education and instruction providers’ level – this often means at the municipalities. The evaluation results show that the statutory steering mechanism has not been efficient enough to ensure the functionality of the quality management and the evaluation included in it or to encourage the providers to improve their activities and results continuously. Clearer national steering is needed.
Quality for the learner’s benefit
The providers of basic education and general upper secondary education can choose their evaluation methods and targets themselves when evaluating their own activities. Pursuant to the law, the objective is to support the development of education and to improve the preconditions for learning.
– At their best, the evaluation activities increase the cooperation and collaboration within the provider, locally and regionally, which creates synergy even in the quality work of small providers – for the learner’s benefit, Counsellor of Evaluation Elina Harjunen highlights the benefits of quality work. – It is simply a natural part of the provider’s everyday work.
Out of 381 providers, 345 carried out the self-evaluation, making the response rate 90.6%. The results are supplemented with a descriptive analysis of the evaluation documents of 43 providers.
Counsellor of Evaluation Elina Harjunen, tel. +358 29 533 5506, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Director Anu Räisänen, tel. +358 29 533 5526, email@example.com
The results of the evaluation will be published on 24 January 2017 starting from 12:15 in Helsinki, at the auditorium in Postitalo (Postikuja 1C). At the start of the press conference, the evaluation report Arvioinnilla luottamusta (in Finnish) will be found at FINEEC’s website karvi.fi and via the portal laatukaytanteet.karvi.fiShare on Facebook Share on Twitter