Assessing the impact of ISO: 9001 implementation on school teaching and learning processes

Published date01 July 2019
Date01 July 2019
AuthorFrancisco José Fernández-Cruz,Jesús Miguel Rodríguez-Mantilla,Ma José Fernández-Díaz
Subject MatterEducation,Educational evaluation/assessment
Assessing the impact of ISO: 9001
implementation on school
teaching and learning processes
Francisco José Fernández-Cruz
Department of Research and Psychology in Education,
Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain, and
Jesús Miguel Rodríguez-Mantilla and Ma José Fernández-Díaz
Department of Research and Psychology in Education,
Complutense University of Madrid, Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain
Purpose A growing number of schoolsare now implementing quality management systems(QMS). As a
result, studies are being conducted to assess the educationalbenets of these systems and their capacity to
identify areas for improvement in school processes and performance. The purpose the present study is to
assess the impactof ISO:9001 implementation on teaching-learningprocesses in the classroom, and in schools
with at least threeyearsexperience of applying this standard.
Design/methodology/approach To this end, a questionnaire was administered to a nal sample of
2,185 subjects from 80 pre-school,primary and secondary education schools in theregions of Madrid, Castile
and Le
on, Andalusia and Valencia(Spain).
Findings The results show that ISO:9001 implementation yielded a higher than average impact on
teaching-learning processes. Specically, improvements were observed in the subdomains of tutorials,
evaluationand classroom teaching methodologies as a result of implementingthis QMS.
Originality/value This impact was higherin state-subsidized private schools in Valencia and Andalusia
with over nine yearsexperienceof ISO:9001 in schools with internal funding plans and in those with fewer
than 29 teacherson the staff.
Keywords Evaluation, Teaching, Quality management, Quality assurance, Management learning,
Quality evaluation
Paper type Research paper
There is currently considerableinterest in the continued improvement of schools(Fernández
and Senôkane, 2015;González et al., 2016), giving rise to the widespread application in
schools of quality management models adapted from the business world. Noteworthy
examples of these models appliedto education include Quality Function Deployment (QFD),
the Total Quality Management (TQM) model, Six Sigma, the Malcolm Baldrige National
Quality Award, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model and the
ISO:9001 standard (Reeet al.,2014).
This article partially presents the results of the study Impact of the implementation of ISO 9001
Standards in schools and associated factorsfunded by the Spanish Ministry of the Economy and
Competitiveness: National Programme for Fundamental Research, National R 1D1i plan (EDU2013-
Assessing the
impact of
Received3 January 2019
Revised2 April 2019
Accepted28 April 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.27 No. 3, 2019
pp. 285-303
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-09-2018-0103
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Each of these models considers the organization globally to establish interrelated
dimensions with the aim of helping the school achieve its educational objectives. The
interaction between these dimensions is so strong that if one undergoes a positive or
negative change, the others are also substantially modied (Fernández-Díaz, 2013;L
Alfaro, 2010). The primary purpose of these models is to identify mechanisms to improve
school quality such that the available resources and processes that are implemented
ultimately enhancethe schools performance (Gento et al.,2018;Cedefop,2011).
However, widespread implementation of these quality management systems (QMS) has
aroused heated controversyand debate concerning the impact that such systems have on all
the interrelated processes that make up the life of a school (Pedr
o, 2015;Doherty, 2008).
Many management teamsand teachers question the use of QMS, arguing that thesemay not
be the most appropriate means to improve the education that schools deliver, questioning
their cost-efciency and highlighting the loss of time involved in their implementation
(Bazhenov et al., 2015;Lisievici, 2015).However, the purpose of this study is to discuss this
statement and to determine the inuence ofthe implementation of the QMS on the teaching-
learning processesof an educational institution[1].
Quality management systems in education
Previous studies have not found incontestable evidence of the usefulness of QMS in
education (Beerkens, 2017;Stensaker et al.,2011). Some studies have reported that QMS
implementation in schools has yielded benets in multiple dimensions (Fernández-Cruz
et al.,2016;Villa et al.,2015;Chenet al.,2004;Stensaker, 2007), whereas othershave found no
effect in educational institutions; instead, they have highlighted the problems entailed in
implementation,especially in higher education (Harvey and Williams, 2010).
In Spain, as in most countries that have adopted this approach, QMS in education were
rst implemented in the universitysector and only subsequently in pre-school, primaryand
secondary education. Although the use of QMS in in pre-school, primary and secondary
education is relativelyrecent, it has steadily gained ground and in some autonomous regions
has been nanced by the education authorities.Because of institutional funding, the impetus
of the educational organizations to which some schools belong or to the initiative of
individual schools, increasing use is being made of quality assurance systems. Two of the
most frequently employed systems in Spanish schools are the EFQM Excellence Model
(Ramírez and Lorenzo, 2016;Martínez and Rioperez, 2005) and the ISO:9001 standard
(Heras-Saizarbitoriaet al., 2011).
As in other countries, research on quality management in educational settings in Spain
has begun to investigate the relevance of these QMS. Although the economic crisis has
intensied these debates, very few studies have yet attempted to clarify whether
implementation of QMS yields sustained change in school culture, processes and
performance (Fernández-Díaz, 2013).
Despite consensus that a schoolsquality is the product of excellence achieved in each of
its component elements (Gento et al.,2018;Huusko and Ursin, 2010;Stensaker et al.,2011),
there is less agreement on the composition of these elements. Villa et al. (2015) have
indicated that a school QMS should inuence communication, planning, recognition and
support for teaching staff, organizationalclimate, teaching-learning processes and relations
with the wider community. However, others (Gento et al., 2015) have argued that QMS
should inuence educational leadership, the availability of human and material resources,
the organization of planning, resource management, educational methodology, staff and
student satisfactionand the schools educational values.

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