There are growing concerns about quality of education in schools in many countries, and education systems implement mechanisms like school inspection, an external education quality assurance measure, to evaluate their education. Realising that effective improvement of education quality may be achieved from within rather than from outside, many education systems are adopting School Self-Evaluation (SSE), an internal evaluation process, to evaluate quality of education.
This study attempted to identify the characteristics of effective SSE frameworks in order to develop one for Zimbabwean primary schools. The study utilised exemplary frameworks as facilitators for introducing SSE practices in Zimbabwe and was guided by the following question: What are the characteristics of an effective SSE framework for improving classroom quality in Zimbabwean primary schools?
The study espoused design research approach which aims to provide solutions to various education problems. The study comprised three phases, the preliminary phase which included a literature review and a needs analysis with the former aimed to gain insight into the efficacy of SSE in evaluating quality of education. The needs analysis sought to establish how education is evaluated in Zimbabwean primary schools. The second, the prototyping phase, involved developing and formatively evaluating various prototypes. The last phase, a semi-summative evaluation, involved field-testing and appraisal of the intervention. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data. Six design principles were generated with the main ones being to engage stakeholders in developing SSE frameworks, to agree on the need for SSE initiative and to define the quality indicators in context. The main characteristics of the SSE framework were that it should have a clear purpose, be context specific, and should focus on what is essential for education. The main conclusion of the study is that there are no clear policy guidelines for Zimbabwean primary schools, coupled with lack of SSE instruments, to engage in self-evaluation of quality of education and therefore, no meaningful SSE takes place. An SSE framework with procedural guidelines developed in this research appears to be relevant, feasible and is expected to be effective for use in Zimbabwean primary schools. Some recommendations were made in order to improve Zimbabwe‟s quality of education.