Opinions of diverse stakeholders converge into the position that school inspections should not only serve the goal to hold schools accountable, but also to make a contribution to teachers' (views on the) realization of educational quality. Despite this ambition, empirical evidence indicates that inspections generally do not meet this development-oriented goal. The foundation of this study is that one cannot understand why inspections are (un)effective without grasping the role of emotions and the professional identity of teachers in this process.
When mechanisms for evaluations (like inspections) postulate a conceptualization of 'a (good) teacher' that differs from the professional conceptions that teachers hold themselves, the professional identity of teachers can get affected. Teachers' efforts to address the 'inspection imposed expectations' are also found to go together with the experience of intense emotions. Positive emotions related to the inspection may be a source for teachers' motivation and job satisfaction. However, teachers experience negative emotions when their conceptualizations of well-nourished ideas and practices are being questioned. Also the question arises whether there are differences between teachers in different schools with regard to the impact of inspections on their emotions and their professional identity. School characteristics are said to have a strong influence on teachers' reactions on the inspection. This indicates that the interplay of individual aspects of emotions and professional identity on the one hand and school characteristics on the other hand may help to understand the impact of inspections.
A carefully designed multi method approach is used. The ecological validity of the conceptual framework is guaranteed on the basis of a review study and explorative in-depth interviews. In the quantitative part of the empirical phase, written surveys are organized in a representative sample of 40 Flemish primary schools. Alongside the survey study, in-depth case studies will provide qualitative data. 12 teachers out of 4 primary school teams will be followed. During 10 months we will carefully map emotions and the professional identity of teachers that are in the process of being inspected. Data are gathered using document analysis and semi-structured in-depth interviews. Additionally, a network perspective will enrich the understanding of effects of inspection on emotions and professional identity in the selected cases.