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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Ehren, M. C. Jones, K., & Perryman, J. (2016). Side Effects of School Inspection; Motivations and Contexts for Strategic Responses. In Methods and Modalities of Effective School Inspections. Ehren, M. C. Springer International Publishing. 87-109.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter introduces three categories of unintended consequences from school inspections: (1) intended strategic behaviour where schools manipulate the inspection assessment through window dressing, misrepresentation or gaming, (2) unintended strategic behaviour when schools narrow their educational practices as a result of the behaviour of the assessor and/or by the method of working used for the assessment, and (3) other types of consequences, such as stress, anxiety and increased workload. As many inspection systems use standardized student achievement tests to evaluate school output, a fourth category on unintended responses to high stakes testing will also be introduced.

The results from a recent systematic literature review will be used to provide evidence of responses in each of the four categories. The review shows that most studies present examples from England and previous case study work from Perryman (J Educ Policy 21(2):147–161, 2006) will therefore offer more in-depth views of how an English school responds strategically to school inspections. The final section of the chapter provides explanations of the conditions under which such responses may occur.

School of Education