Collaboration between 21 education researchers from South African, Mozambican and Dutch universities has culminated in the published book entitled Monitoring the Quality of Education in Schools. The project was led by editors Dr Vanessa Scherman from Unisa, Prof Roel Bosker from the University of Groningen and Prof Sarah Howie, Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA) at the University of Pretoria (UP).
The book focuses on the field of monitoring and evaluation in education discussing different topics related to research investigating the quality of education in a variety of contexts. In particular, the writing focused on how the research provided feedback into various education systems, both developed and emerging.
The first section of the book is on conceptual issues where Dr Kim Schildkamp from the University of Twente and Dr Elizabeth Archer from Unisa explore the core question of how feedback from monitoring data can be used in the decision-making process. Prof Caroline Long from the University of Johannesburg and Prof Tim Dunne from the University of Cape Town make a distinction between internal and external monitoring. In the second section, researchers such as Dr Christine Merell from the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University and Dr Mechteld van Kuijk of the University of Groningen provide examples of monitoring systems that worked at the school and classroom levels.
The third section of the book focuses on system-level monitoring. Dr Surette van Staden from the Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, and Dr Lisa Zimmerman from the CEA at UP, used South African data drawing upon examples from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies (PIRLS) and Mr Carlos Lauchande, Dr Ana Passos and Prof Howie worked with Mozambican data from the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for the Monitoring of Educational Quality (SACMEQ). In the last section on Future Pathways, in the chapter 'Frameworks for the analysis of Monitoring data related to achievement' for example, Prof Howie, Dr Scherman and Dr van Staden presented three cases of conceptualisation of frameworks that were used to investigate the achievement in mathematics, language and reading. The discussion drew largely from the two international studies Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of which South Africa became part, and looks at the future of conceptualising frameworks. Finally, Profs Howie and Scherman reflect upon the monitoring systems for the future given the global economy.