We may never prove reliability of inspection, warns Ofsted research chief

Ofsted’s own head of research, Daniel Muijs has admitted that it is impossible to determine conclusively how reliable school inspections are. Tes reports.

Questioned as to whether the inspection system would stand up to research, he pointed to two studies investigating the reliability of inspections. One, conducted in 1998, “came up pretty positively”, Professor Muijs said. But he added: “That’s now old evidence.”

A second study, published last year, looked at the reliability of Ofsted’s short inspections. This involved sending two inspectors to visit 24 primary schools, and concluded that short inspections were 92 per cent reliable.

In the past, Robert Coe, education professor and director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University, has criticised Ofsted’s inspection process, saying that it was neither research-based nor evidence-based.

However, Professor Muijs admitted that one should avoid drawing too many conclusions from a single small-scale study.

“And there are limitations to how large-scale you can go with those kinds of studies, because, of course, we do not want to overburden schools and constantly be sending multiple inspectors into schools.”

Read more We may never prove reliability of inspection, warns Ofsted research chief

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