The assessment of the school outcomes in Italy: Waiting for Godot?

Paolo Barabanti

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


Three books, published from 2012 to 2014, are useful to investigate the theme of school evaluation from different points of view. The first book, ‘School Assessment. What it is used and why it is necessary for Italy’ (Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli (2014). La valutazione della scuola. A che cosa serve e perché è necessaria all’Italia. Roma-Bari: Laterza), is a sort of compendium for interested people in issues regarding Italian assessment approach. It does not contain practical advice but it represents an introduction to the topic and it presents a careful reflection on the most controversial aspects. The favourable opinion of the authors is clear: assessment is condicio sine qua non to improve the school system (Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 2014, p. 4). Also the second book, ‘Assessment Challenges’ (Bottani N., Checchi D. (Eds.) (2012). La sfida della valutazione. Bologna: Il Mulino)1, tries to underline the importance of assessment as a tool for school accountability towards any stakeholders: not only educational authorities, teachers, and policy makers, but also students and families. It is a sort of deeper and more shared ‘service charter”. The third book ‘School Self-Assessment. Models and practical tools’, (Allulli G., Farinelli F., Petrolino A. (Eds.) (2013). L’autovalutazione di istituto. Modelli e strumenti operativi. Milano: Guerini) deals with internal assessment and, in particular, school self-assessment. It addresses those who have an organizational and decision-making role in the school (such as the headmaster and the assessment committee); thus, it could be used as a practical manual as well. The idea of school assessment arises as a necessary consequence of the reform on school autonomy. Italy, terribly behind in comparison with other European countries (for example, the UK, France, Spain and Germany), began in 1999 with the establishment of INVALSI (National Institute for the school educational and learning system assessment).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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