Supervision vs Inspection: 8 Types of School Supervision

School supervision and school inspection are two terms that are widely used interchangeably. But do they refer to the same activity?

No, school supervision and school inspection are not the same.

School supervision refers to the continuous process of overseeing and supporting the activities of the teachers and administrators of a school. School inspection, on the other hand, is a more formal process of evaluating the overall performance of a school.

Supervision can include providing feedback and guidance on instructional practices, monitoring student progress, and ensuring compliance with educational policies and regulations.

However, inspection typically involves a team of trained inspectors visiting the school to observe their instruction and instructional processes, review students’ work, and assess the school’s compliance with relevant standards and regulations. 

The goal of a school inspection is to provide an objective evaluation of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and to make recommendations for improvement.

Both school supervision and school inspection are important for ensuring that schools are providing a high-quality education to students, but they have different goals and focus on different aspects of the school’s work.

10 Differences Between School Supervision and School Inspection 

Here are 10 differences between school supervision and school inspection:

SNSchool SupervisionSchool Inspection
1.Less formalFormal
2.Focuses on maintaining performanceFocus on monitoring and evaluation of performance
3.Aimed at changing the instructional process and practicesAimed at changing all factors affecting the teachers’ behavior 
4.Usually carried out by external and internal supervisorsUsually carried out by an external agent
5.FrequentLess frequent
6.Done by individuals and a team of supervisorsDone by a team of inspectors comprising individuals
7.Usually well-planned or sometimes unplannedUsually planned ahead of time
8.Advisory in natureJudgmental in nature
9.Reports are always constructive and discussed with teachers and follow up at the earliest possible timeReports are usually negative in tone
10.Explores, supports, and encourages teaching and learningFacilitates and reinforces teaching and learning

8 Types of School Supervision 

Having seen how inspection differs from supervision, we will be focusing on the 8 types of school supervision

1. Routine Visit

A routine visit is a regular, scheduled visit by a supervisor to a school or classroom to observe and evaluate the teaching and learning that is taking place. 

This type of school supervision can be used to assess the effectiveness of instruction, provide feedback and support to teachers, and ensure that school policies and procedures are being followed.

The frequency and duration of routine visits vary but they are often conducted regularly, such as weekly or monthly.

2. Investigation Visit

An investigation visit is a visit by a supervisor to a school or classroom that is conducted in response to a specific concern or issue that has been identified. 

These visits can be used to gather information and evidence related to a particular problem or incident, such as a complaint from a parent or teacher, a low test score, or a violation of school policy. 

The purpose of an investigation visit is to determine the cause of the problem and to develop strategies for addressing it.

Investigation visits are conducted by an experienced supervisor or administrator and require a more detailed, in-depth approach than routine visits. The findings from the visit are then reported to the school board or other relevant authorities and they give recommendations for improvement.

3. Special Visit

A special visit is a type of school supervision that is conducted in response to a specific need or request, rather than as part of a regular, scheduled routine. 

This visit can, for instance, be used to observe and evaluate a new or innovative teaching method, to provide support or training to teachers, or to assess the progress of a school improvement initiative. Special visits can also be focused on a certain subject area, grade level, or special needs population. 

The purpose of a special visit is to address a particular need or concern, and the approach and focus of the visit will vary depending on the specific situation.

4. Follow-up Visit

The fourth type of school supervision is a follow-up visit. A follow-up visit is conducted after an initial visit, investigation, or action plan has been implemented. 

The purpose of a follow-up visit is to assess the progress of the school or classroom in addressing the issues or concerns that were identified during the initial visit. 

The follow-up visit is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies that have been implemented, to provide additional support and guidance as needed, and to make any necessary adjustments to the plan.

5. Sampling or Survey Visit

A sampling or survey visit is a type of school supervision that is conducted to gather data or information from a representative sample of schools or classrooms within a district or region. 

It can be used to gather information on a particular topic or concern, such as teacher effectiveness, student achievement, or school climate.

The sampling or survey visit can have different methods of data collection. Either through observations, interviews, surveys or questionnaires, or review of documents and materials. 

The goal of a sampling or survey visit is to gather data from a small group of people or situations that can be used to gain a broader understanding of a particular issue or concern and to make informed decisions about school or district policies and practices.

6. Full Inspection

A full inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of a school’s operations and performance, conducted by an official or inspector. These officials are sent by an external agency or organization, such as a government agency or accrediting body. 

During a full inspection, the inspector will evaluate the school’s compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and standards, as well as its overall effectiveness in providing education to students. 

The inspector will review documents, observe classrooms, interview staff, and administrators, and gather input from students and parents.

The inspector will  evaluate the school’s performance in several areas, such as:

  • Student achievement
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Staff and administration 
  • Facilities and resources
  • Student support

Based on the findings of the inspection, the inspector will provide a report to the school and relevant authorities detailing the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. 

The school may be required to develop a plan of action to address any issues identified during the inspection and may be subject to follow-up inspections to monitor progress.

7. Subject Inspection

A subject inspection, also known as a focused inspection, is a type of school supervision that specifically focuses on evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in one or more subject areas. 

It is conducted by an inspector or team of inspectors and focuses on the curriculum, instruction, and student learning outcomes in a specific subject area or area of the curriculum, such as mathematics, science, or English.

During a subject inspection, the inspector will :

  • Review the curriculum and instructional materials for the subject area
  • Observe classroom instruction to evaluate the quality of teaching and the level of student engagement
  • Review student work and assessments to evaluate student learning outcomes
  • Interview teachers and administrators to gather information about their teaching practices and the support they receive for their subject area
  • Gather input from students and parents

Based on the findings of the subject inspection, the inspector will provide a report to the school and relevant authorities detailing the school’s strengths and areas for improvement in the subject area inspected. 

8. Approval of New School

The last type of school supervision is a process that is conducted by educational authorities to ensure that a new school meets the required standards and can provide a safe and effective learning environment for students. 

The visit includes an evaluation of the school’s facilities, curriculum, staffing, and overall operations. 

The officials conducting the visit will also review any relevant documentation, such as the school’s policies and procedures, to ensure they comply with state and federal regulations. The outcome of the supervision visit will determine whether or not the new school is approved to open and begin enrolling students.


The 8 types of school supervision are routine visits, investigation visits, special visits, follow-up visits, sampling or surveying visits, full inspection, subject supervision, and approval of new schools.

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