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Research and Innovation for the Italian School


Assessment and Improvement Processes Area

The Assessment and Improvement Processes Area develops national and international lines of research on the effectiveness of improvement processes in schools, backed up by relevant investigation protocols in the field.

One of the main aims of the research is the development of effective models and tools for schools, to be used in all the phases of the improvement process. At the same time, the Area’s research also aims to link the development of the contents of the improvement plans with the innovative proposals resulting from INDIRE’s activities. Therefore, the main focus of the research is on both the processes and the results of improvement actions in schools, attempting to bring their qualitative aspects to the fore. This field of investigation requires the use of specific analysis tools and methods that combine qualitative and quantitative aspects which can analyse structural change phenomena in schools’ organizational and educational systems, evolution in teachers’ professional behaviour, student’s motivational aspects, leadership styles, and the role of headmasters.

As part of the National Evaluation System (NES), this Area takes care of the planning and support of improvement processes in schools, supporting them in defining and implementing plans to improve the quality of their educational provision and students’ learning results, in accordance with Law 10/2011 and the Presidential Decree 80/2013. The Assessment and Improvement Processes Area makes available to schools a national register of specialists, which is kept constantly up to date.

As part of the development of the NES, and in collaboration with some Italian universities, the Area carries out research projects that investigate key aspects of improvement processes, such as the consultant as a professional with specific expertise, the role of the headmaster in steering the improvement process, the methods and tools necessary to carry out effective choices in the process of turning self-evaluation into improvement, and to plan well interventions.



Effective Tools and Protocols for Improvement
With the birth of the NES, schools were asked to pick strategic objectives for their own improvement in the light of results from self-evaluation. The aim of the research is to try out tools and protocols that can favour effective  problem solving and the planning and realisation of improvement interventions in line with national and international “school improvement” and “school effectiveness” models.

The Effectiveness of ICT
This research, carried out in collaboration with INDIRE’s Innovation Area, aims to study modifications to learning environments thanks to the use of new technology: an in-depth investigation is currently in progress to monitor the spread of mobile technologies used by students, (e.g. netbooks, notebooks, tablets, smartphones or e-readers) in certain upper secondary schools.

The VAL VAL Project
The VAL VAL Project arose frome INDIRE’s collaboration with the network of institutes in the Valdera area known as “Costellazioni”: local schools working on the common objective of reducing the percentage of negative learning results and early school leaving during the first year at upper secondary schools. INDIRE will support the improvement phase with its own tools and protocols.