With the launch of the National evaluation system in the field of primary and secondary education and training (SNV), Italian schools have recently experienced internal and external-evaluation and the performance evaluation of school principals. This paper analyses the process of implementation of the SNV, by considering legal norms, implementing provisions and guidelines produced by the Ministry of Education and INVALSI during the initial phase of implementation. The aim is to highlight the objectives attributed to evaluation in the official documents and their impact on schools. Consistently with neo-liberal rhetoric, evaluation is presented as a necessary regulation mechanism to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the education system. The control at a distance activated by evaluation policies is based on the measurement of performances and promotes standardization of practices, comparisons and competition among schools. The regulatory apparatus emerging from the implementation documents points to an unresolved tension between the objectives of external accountability and those of school development.
Keywords: Evaluation - Self evaluation - Accountability - Improvement - Governance - National evaluation system