Basic Education Quality Control

More detailed results (in Finnish)

http://www.turku.fi/perusopetuksen-laatukysely

An organizer of education must evaluate the given education and its effects, as well as participate in evaluations conducted by third parties. The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has written a manual called Perusopetuksen laatukriteeerit (Quality Criteria in Basic Education), based on which the municipalities have developed their quality control systems. In Turku the basic education quality criteria have been edited into three questionnaire sections:

  • Students’ everyday life
  • Management, human resources and finances
  • Environment and security

The questionnaire was answered by students, guardians, personnel responsible of teaching at schools, principals, leading officials, and persons in positions of trust (section and board members).

In spring 2015 the quality questionnaire was conducted the second time. The subject matter of the questionnaire was students’ everyday life. Changes had been made to the questionnaire compared to the previous year on parts concerning student welfare, because the legislation and curriculum had changed in autumn 2014. The aim of the questionnaire was to find out how the changes had affected school work.

Reports of last year’s quality questionnaires will be sent to the schools. For comparison, a summary report has been made from the answers of all schools and organized according to answerer groups. Only the relevant reports will be sent:

  • The reports compiled from the answers of guardians will be sent if at least 5% of the guardians of the students in the school answered the questionnaire.
  • The reports made of the answers of teachers will be sent if over 30% of the teachers in the school answered the questionnaire.

The schools will discuss the results together with the answerer groups and make the next year’s development plan based on them. At the same time the schools will also discuss if the objectives of the previous period were met. The common objectives of basic education in 2014 were, for example, to increase the participation of students and guardians, and to increase the use of ICT in teaching.

The main results of basic education (education in both Finnish and Swedish) in the spring 2015 questionnaire:

  • The numbers of answerers decreased compared to the previous year in all other groups except for students. In 2014 there was a total of 5952 answerers and in 2015 there were 4436.
  • There was significant variation in the schools’ answer percentages.
  • Guardians were, in general, happy with the school’s operations. No large changes compared to the previous year. The schools should increase their communications, however, because in many questions the portion of guardians who did not take a stand was large.
  • Guardians thought that the students can easily get to a school nurse’s, school social worker’s, or psychologist’s reception. Based on the results, informing about the operations of the communal student welfare group and the handling of matters concerning individual students at school should be increased.
  • Guardians were mainly happy with morning and afternoon activities.
  • Teachers appreciated the directive effects of the curriculum.
  • Teachers were of the opinion that the resources available for teaching were not fully adequate for good quality teaching.
  • The students in years 1–4 were mainly positive about school and felt that school was a safe place. They were of the opinion that they got a lot of positive feedback and their views were often taken into account. The experience of involvement had clearly risen compared to last year. The use of ICT had slightly increased.
  • The students in years 5–9 were also rather positive about school, but were more critical than the smaller students. The opinions were divided e.g. in the question about whether the teacher tells the student where he/she is good at. Still too many students felt that no immediate actions were taken in cases of bullying. The use of ICT in teaching seemed as ample for one half and scarce for the other half of the students.
  • The students had a positive impression about the operations of the student association, but not all were aware of their own possibilities to influence.
  • A clear majority of the students felt that they got to meet a school nurse, school social worker, and psychologist at need, but the operations of the communal student welfare group were not yet widely known.
  • Special needs teaching assistants saw that the students’ individual needs and the composition of the group receiving teaching had a large, and larger than before, effect on teaching arrangements, guidance, and support. They were of the opinion that the three-step support system of growth and learning functioned successfully.
  • The ICT skills of special needs teaching assistants had improved from last year.
  • The special needs teaching assistants felt that the co-operation with teachers, guardians, and morning and afternoon activities was mainly successful.
  • Principals’ views of the operations of their schools were very positive. They were clearly more content with the schools’ resources than the teachers. Principals and teachers had very similar views on group sizes. More than half saw that good quality teaching is possible in current size groups.
  • Principals and teachers had similar positive impressions of ICT equipment and its level of use, but principals evaluated the amount of ICT education higher than teachers. Students’ experiences of the use of ICT were polarized.
  • Principals estimated that the child welfare tasks and responsibilities of child welfare personnel (school doctor, school social worker, psychologist, school nurse) and other personnel had not become clear. The new child welfare act changed the practices considerably, and it was considered cumbersome.

Based on the questionnaire, the common development goals for school year 2015–2016 were:

  • Including students and guardians in the planning and developing of operations according to the spirit of the new curriculum.
  • Making the importance of Basic Education quality assessment more clear.

Quality assessment was wanted as a tool of development that would be more central than before and present in the everyday school life. The assessment is the more important the more people answer the questionnaire. The aim of the next round of questions is that at least 70% of the personnel and students would participate.

Link to more detailed answers: http://www.turku.fi/perusopetuksen-laatukysely

Further information:

Outi Rinne

Basic Education Service Area Director
Education Division, City of Turku

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