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Marjolein Camphuijsen, Antonina Levatino (2021)
Schools in the media: framing national standardized testing in the Norwegian press, 2004–2018

In the education sector, media outlets have been increasingly active in reporting on standardized testing. The purpose of this paper is to identify the most recurrent discursive frames used by the Norwegian regional and local press when informing their readers about national standardized testing, and to explore whether differences over time and across geographical localities exist in the pervasiveness of frames. Our analysis is guided by framing theory, and builds on a corpus of 3,046 articles that focus on national testing, published by 155 Norwegian regional and local newspapers between 2004 and 2018. The analysis identifies four different discursive frames within Norwegian press coverage, namely the frame of ‘performance’, ‘transparency and empowerment’, ‘misinterpretation and misuse’, and ‘criticism’. The four frames convey highly distinct causal and normative beliefs and realities about national standardized testing. While the dominance of the frames varies over time and across Norwegian counties, the frame of ‘performance’ is increasingly pervasive, something that potentially contributes to naturalize performative-oriented reporting and competition in education. The study highlights the importance of systematic media analyses to identify circulating principle beliefs on education, and of not limiting research to national newspapers in order to grasp geographical variation in media coverage.
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Marjolein Camphuijsen, Antonina Levatino (2021)
Appendix. Schools in the Media: Framing National Standardized Testing in the Norwegian Press, 2004-2018

Full list of newspaper articles analyzed in Camphuijsen and Levatino (2021).
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Antonina Levatino (2021)
Surveying principals and teachers: Methodological insights into the design of the REFORMED questionnaires

This note describes the methodology behind the design of the REFORMED Survey questionnaires. The Survey constitutes one of the main pillars of REFORMED RS2 which is aimed at exploring the intricate relationship between SAWA policies, contextual contingencies and policy enactment dynamics. The aim of this note is essentially twofold. On the one hand, it provides detailed information on the key concepts used in RS2 as well as the theoretical underpinnings and content of the questionnaires. On the other hand, it presents a detailed overview of the methodological steps followed to conceive and develop them. The information contained in this note is relevant for those researchers who want to use the data collected through the REFORMED Survey. It also provides useful methodological insights that can be valuable for those who want to undertake similar research endeavours.
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Marjolein Camphuijsen, Jorunn Møller, Guri Skedsmo (2020)
Test-based accountability in the Norwegian context: exploring drivers, expectations and strategies

This paper investigates how and why test-based accountability (TBA), a global model for education reform, began to dominate educational debates in Norway in the early 2000s, and how this policy has been operationalised and institutionalised over time. In examining the adoption and retention of TBA in Norway, we build on the cultural political economy framework, in combination with a political sociology-driven approach to policy instruments. The analysis draws on two data sources: four White Papers and 37 in-depth interviews with top-level politicians, policy-makers and stakeholders, conducted between September 2017 and February 2018. The findings indicate that ‘scandalisation’ of Norway’s below-expected PISA results and promotion of standardised testing as a neutral device contributed to the relatively abrupt adoption of national testing in the early 2000s. The increasingly dominant policy discourse equalising education quality and learning outcomes led to the institutionalisation of TBA, developed to ensure equity and quality standards in a decentralised education system. Increased visibility, benchmarking and administrative control are identified as key mechanisms in putting pressure on local actors to re-orient their behaviour. The study provides original insights into the drivers, expectations and strategies underlying TBA in a social democratic institutional regime.
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Natalie Browes (2019)
The instrumentation of test-based accountability in the autonomous dutch system

Test-based accountability or ‘TBA,’ as a core element of the pervasive Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), has become a central characteristic of education systems around the world. TBA often comes in conjunction with greater school autonomy, enabling governments to assess ‘school quality’ (i.e. test results) from a distance. Often, quality improvement is further encouraged through the publication of these results. Research has investigated this phenomenon and its effects, much of it focusing on Anglo-Saxon cases. This paper, drawing on expert interviews and key policy documents, couples a policy borrowing with a policy instruments approach to critically examine how and why TBA has developed in the highly autonomous Dutch system. It finds that TBA evolved incrementally, advancing towards higher stakes for schools and boards. Further, it argues that school autonomy has been central to the development of TBA in two ways. Firstly, following a period of decentralisation that increased school(board) autonomy, the Dutch government saw a need to strengthen accountability to ensure education quality. This was influenced by international discourse and accelerated by a (politically exploited) national ‘quality crisis’ in education. Secondly, the traditionally autonomous Dutch system, shaped by ‘Freedom of Education’, has at times conflicted with TBA, and has played a significant role in (re)shaping global policy and in mitigating the GERM.
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Antoni Verger, Lluís Parcerisa, Clara Fontdevila (2018)
The growth and spread of large-scale assessments and test-based accountabilities: a political sociology of global education reforms

The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is expanding internationally and reaching countries that seemed to be immune to this education reform approach until quite recently. Accordingly, more and more educational systems in the world are articulated around three main policy principles: accountability, standards and decentralisation. National large-scale assessments (NLSAs) are a core component of the GERM; these assessments are increasingly used for accountability purposes as well as to ensure that schools achieve and promote centrally defined and evaluable learning standards. In this paper, we explore these trends on the basis of a new and original database on NLSAs, as well as on data coming from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) questionnaires. In the paper we also discuss how different theories on policy dissemination/globalisation explain the international spread of NLSAs and test-based accountability worldwide, and reflect on the potential of a political sociology approach to analyse this globalising phenomenon.
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