Shifting modes of governing: Reflecting upon state school inspection in Norway

  • Mercredi 22 novembre 2017 à 12 h 15
  • Local A-544, Pavillon Marie-Victorin, Université de Montréal


Photo de Jeffrey Brooks Hall

Hall, Jeffrey Brooks

Jeffrey B. Hall is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo (ILS). His PhD-degree in Education from University of Oslo (2016) is titled State School Inspection: The Norwegian Example. He is currently working on the project Professional norms, school leadership and educational law: A comparative study of Norway and Sweden (PRONLED), and is particularly interested in governing, school inspection, legal issues and professional norms. Hall teaches qualitative methodology and educational leadership within the M.Phil. Program and the Principals' Training Program at ILS.


The seminar will address shifting modes of governing, by critically investigating how state school inspection policy in Norway is currently changing, represented by new mixtures of tools and frameworks (Baxter et al., 2015; Hall, 2016, 2017; Hood, 2007; Maroy, 2012). Previously, the state inspection framework emphasized control of legal compliance, and to little extent expressed performative modes of governing (Hall & Sivesind, 2015). Under the current framework, policy actors such as school inspectors utilize the handbook for school inspection, School-Self Evaluation documentation, as well as multiple fixed templates to make their legal judgments (UDIR, 2013). The study draws on the concepts of dynamic policy frameworks and tools, which have also undergone considerable shifts in many other European contexts (Baxter et al., 2015; Hood, 2007). Qualitative analysis of observation data from inspections in compulsory schools shows that such templates rigidly steer employment of the inspection handbook, where completing the inspection process overshadows supporting schools in complying with legal statutes and regulation (Hall, 2017). Finally, the study suggests that the inspection process should focus more on policy learning and supportive modes of governing, rather than mere compliance control and performativity. Thus, it raises questions concerning the use of limited resources aimed at completing routine supervision, rather than supporting schools in their struggle to understand and make better use of regulation and the state inspection framework.