School effectiveness

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While the quality of schools can be analysed on the basis of a normative or an empirical perspective, the term ‘effectiveness’ focuses on the empirical evidence of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ schools (»school quality«) according to certain criteria or targets (e.g. pupil performance, the satisfaction and health of teachers). Since the 1970s, school effectiveness has become a major issue in school research and school development. The publication of ‘15000 hours’ (Rutter et al. 1979) and the following slogan ‘Schools do make a difference’ point out/highlight the importance of schools as learning organisations which plan their internal processes in a specific way. Similar conditions (e.g. in terms of pupils intelligence and pupils knowledge, academic background and aspiration of parents) can lead to different output and outcome – depending on the way the internal processes are organised. Characteristics on the school level are the degree of achievement-oriented policy, educational leadership, consensus and cooperative planning among teachers, quality of school curricula, an orderly atmosphere and evaluative potential (Scheerens 2008, p. 61). In GOETE the term »school effectiveness« is needed in WP 3 (»comparison of teacher training«), WP 4 (»individuals survey«) and WP 7 (»high level governance analysis«).


Rutter, Michael/Maughan, Barbara/Mortimore, Peter/Ouston, Janet (1979): Fifteen Thousand Hours: Secondary Schools an their Effects on Children. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Scheerens, Jaap (2008): Review and Meta-Analyses of School and Teaching Effectiveness. Department of Educational Organization and Management University of Twente. Study for German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung and the Dutch Ministry of Education. URL (12, 2009):

Scheerens, Jaap./Bosker, Roel J. (1997): The foundations of education effectiveness. Oxford: Pergamon.

(Thorsten Bohl & Colin Cramer)