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Italy:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Italy

Contents

Italy:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Italy:Historical Development

Italy:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Italy:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Italy:Political and Economic Situation

Italy:Organisation and Governance

Italy:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Italy:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Italy:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Italy:Organisation of Private Education

Italy:National Qualifications Framework

Italy:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Italy:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Italy:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Italy:Funding in Education

Italy:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Italy:Higher Education Funding

Italy:Adult Education and Training Funding

Italy:Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Primary Education

Italy:Organisation of Primary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Italy:Assessment in Primary Education

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Italy:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Higher Education

Italy:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Italy:First Cycle Programmes

Italy:Bachelor

Italy:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Italy:Second Cycle Programmes

Italy:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Italy:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Italy:Adult Education and Training

Italy:Distribution of Responsibilities

Italy:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Italy:Main Providers

Italy:Main Types of Provision

Italy:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Italy:Teachers and Education Staff

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Management and Other Education Staff

Italy:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Italy:Management Staff for Higher Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Quality Assurance

Italy:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Educational Support and Guidance

Italy:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Italy:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Italy:Mobility and Internationalisation

Italy:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Mobility in Higher Education

Italy:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Italy:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Italy:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:National Reforms in School Education

Italy:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Italy:National Reforms in Higher Education

Italy:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Italy:European Perspective

Italy:Legislation

Italy:Glossary

Responsible Bodies

At school level, both the School manager and the Teachers' assembly are responsible for quality assurance. The School manager organizes the school activities according to criteria of educational efficiency and efficacy and is responsible for the results of his/her activity. The Teachers' assembly plans and verifies the didactic activities.

The evaluation of the school education system, preprimary education included, falls under the responsibilities of the National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System (Istituto nazionale per la valutazione del sistema di istruzione e formazione, Invalsi).

The Invalsi is submitted to the supervision of the Ministry of education, university and research (Ministero dell'istruzione, dell'università e della ricerca, Miur). The Miur annually sets the objectives of the external evaluation of the school system, which takes into account students’ learning outcomes.

In addition, every three years the Ministry defines the strategic priorities that Invalsi should take into consideration in planning its activities.

Within the National Evaluation System the following subjects are responsible for the quality assurance of the education system (early childhood and school education):

  • the Invalsi, which co-ordinates the system and prepares tests for the external evaluation of pupils’ learning outcomes in all types of school at all educational levels, takes part in international surveys and carries on national surveys on national standards;
  • the National institute of documentation, innovation and research in education (Indire), which supports the improvement and innovation process, the continuing professional development of school staff as well as documentation and research in education;
  • the inspectors, autonomous and independent, committed with the evaluation of schools and school heads.

Quality assurance in the regional education and training system (IFP), is carried out by the national Reference Point established in 2006 within the Enqa-Vet - European Quality Assurance in Vocational education and training framework.
The Reference point is established at the National institute for the analysis of public policies (Istituto nazionale per l’analisi delle politiche pubbliche, 
Inapp).

Inapp is a public research institute working in collaboration with the Ministries of labour and of education, the Regions, trade unions, European Union and other international subjects.

The Reference Point has a Committee made up by the Ministries of labour and of education, the Regions, trade unions, and representatives of subjects offering vocational education and training.

As for the Higher technical education and training system, a database is active at Indire with the technical collaboration of both Inapp and the Italian institute of statistics (ISTAT). The database guarantees the integration of the regional training systems.

At national level, the Ministry of education, together with the Ministry of labour, evaluates and monitors the integrated intervention plans. The monitoring system is integrated with the activities realised by Regions also through the programmes financed through the European Social Fund.

Every three years, the Ministry of education, together with the Ministry of labour and the Ministry of economic development and with the technical assistance of Indire and Inapp, submits a report to the Parliament showing the results of the evaluation and monitoring activities of the intervention plans.

Approaches and Methods for Quality Assurance

Evaluation of students

Internal evaluation

Teachers at primary and secondary level are committed with the assessment of students' knowledge during and at the end of the school year. At pre-primary level, teachers do not assess children's educational performance.

National testing of students

The Invalsi has been committed with the external evaluation of students' outcomes.

This data collection covers the knowledge and skills in Italian and mathematics of students in the second (7-8 years) and fifth (10-11 years) grades of primary school, in the third year (13-14 years) of lower secondary school and in the second (15-16 years) and fifth (18-19 years) years of upper secondary school.

Results are delivered to schools both in as aggregated and disaggregated data in order to provide school managers and teachers with a useful instrument for self-evaluation and for improving their didactic.

The mark obtained by the student in the national test included in the lower secondary leaving examination, counts as about 1/7 on the final mark.
In fact, it counts in the calculation of the final mark, which the average of all marks obtained at the exam and for the admission to the exam.

Finally, the Ministry of education has foreseen the conclusion of the implementation process of students’ external evaluation by involving students in the fifth grade of the upper secondary level and students attending vocational qualification training. It has also established the possible external evaluation in sciences and English language on sample basis.

Evaluation of Schools

Four phases make up the schools evaluation foreseen by the National evaluation system:

a) Schools carry out a self-evaluation. Schools refer to an electronic file that collects data from different databases of the Ministry, of Invalsi and of schools themselves and draft their own self-evaluation report (rapporto di autovalutazione – RAV) using the electronic format provided by the Ministry of Education’s information system (scuola in chiaro) and Invalsi;  
b) Schools are evaluated by external evaluation teams, coordinated by the school manager, according to programmes, benchmarks and protocols elaborated by Invalsi and followed by the revision of the school’s improvement plan; 
c) Schools carry out improvement actions with the support of Indire, or through collaboration with universities, bodies, and/or professional and cultural organisations selected by the schools; 
d) schools publish the results achieved in order to ensure transparency and public accountability.

The implementation of the National evaluation system will take place in different steps during a three-year period. In school year 2014/2015, schools have started the self-evaluation phase.

All schools were asked to develop analysis and internal evaluation activities followed by the drawing up of the self-evaluation report (rapporto di autovalutazione - RAV).

In school year 2015/2016, the external evaluation phase has taken place.

The sample of schools is chosen randomly through a system that takes into account the number of schools in different areas of the country as well as the school level (primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school).

The external evaluation involves visits to schools by the evaluation teams.

Teams carry out their evaluation activity in three phases:

  • analysis of the documentation of the schools before visiting them;
  • visiting the school to collect data and information through interviews and documentation;
  • drawing of the evaluation report, which is then delivered to the school.

Moreover, in 2015/2016, all schools have drawn up their three-year Educational offer plan  (PTOF) which also includes the improvement actions to be carried out in coherence with the RAV.

Schools can have the support of the Indire or other public and private subjects (universities, research institutes, associations). 

Finally, in 2016/2017, schools should promote public initiatives for social accountability.

Staff Evaluation

Law 107/2015 known as ‘The good school’, has introduced an internal evaluation of teachers aimed at the recognition of teachers’ merit and at the attribution of a financial bonus to teachers who received a positive evaluation.

The school manager evaluates teachers according to criteria established by the Committee for the evaluation of teachers.

The Committee is in charge for three school years and is chaired by the school manager. Its members are:

  • three teachers of the school, two chosen by the teachers’ council and one by the school council; 
  • two representatives of parents in pre-primary, primary and lower secondary schools and, in upper secondary schools, one representative of students and one of parents, all chosen by the school council; 
  • one external member appointed by the regional school office among teachers, school managers and technical managers.

The Committee defines the criteria for teachers’ merit recognition taking into consideration:

a) the quality of teaching and the teacher’s contribution to the improvement of the school, as well as students’ achievements. 
b) results obtained by the teacher or by the team of teachers in improving students’ competences and didactic and methodological innovation, as well as the involvement in the educational didactic, research and dissemination of good practices; 
c) responsibilities taken for the coordination of the organisation and didactic of the school and in the staff training.

The Committee also establishes the number of beneficiaries that, every year, will receive the bonus and, as a consequence, the amount of the bonus itself.

In fact, every year the Ministry of education allocates to schools, by means of the Regional School Offices, a sum taken from an ad hoc fund created at the Ministry of education.

After three years from the introduction of the evaluation of teachers, Regional School Offices will send to the Ministry of education a report on the evaluation criteria adopted by schools and their application for teachers’ merit recognition.

The report will be based on information provided by schools on the evaluation criteria adopted and on their application.

Finally, the Ministry of education will appoint an ad hoc scientific committee which task is the drawing up of national guidelines for the evaluation of teachers. National guidelines should be based on the reports provided by the Regional School Offices.

Exceptionally, inspectors (called technical managers) evaluate the teacher’s activity upon request of the school administration in the context of disciplinary measures or procedures for the exemption from service, due to incapacity or constantly insufficient performance.

The Evaluation of the School System

The Ministry of education holds several data on schools:

  • Number of students
  • Promotion of students
  • Progression of pupils within levels and from one level to the other
  • Budgets
  • CPD of school staff

The Invalsi holds data on the learning outcomes in Italian and mathematics at all territorial level (Regions, Provinces and Communes), it can offer information on critical aspects and point out where to intervene to improve the system.

Invalsi also submits questionnaires to students, teachers and families in order to investigate the satisfaction levels and other elements useful for the evaluation of the system.

In addition, the Ministry gives to Invalsi the task of drawing up a report on the Italian school system on a three-year period.

This allows also the comparisons in an international perspective (Directive 11/2014).

As for the regional education and training courses (IFP) the national Reference Point is the place where practices and initiatives for quality assurance and evaluation are examined, compared and delivered.

The main tasks of the national Reference Point for quality assurance are the promotion of initiatives to reinforce the use of methods and instruments for quality assurance and the development of consciousness of benefits coming from quality assurance practices.

Legislative References

Legislative decree 19 November 2004, no. 286 (establishment of the National service for the evaluation of the education and training system)

Law 25 October 2007, no. 176 (school grades involved in national testing)

Legislative decree 27 October 2009, no. 150 (evaluation of the performances in public administrations)

Decree of the president of the council of ministers 26 January 2011 (limits and procedures of school teachers evaluation)

Law 26 February 2011, no. 10 (establishment of the National evaluation system)

Law 4 April 2012, no. 35 (coordination of the National evaluation system to Invalsi) 

DPR 28 March 2013, no. 80 (National evaluation system, organisation)

Law 13 July 2015, no. 107 (reform of the education system, merit valorisation)