norway

National tests serve both a formative and a summative purpose in Norway, and measure competencies across subjects 

Due to the decentralized nature of the educational system, decisions on how to follow-up results are left to the local government, which is something conducive to variety in accountability routines and practices across the country 

 

TEST-BASED ACCOUNTABILITY WORLD ATLAS
SAWA IN NORWAY

COUNTRY NORWAY
Name of the standardized tests (in primary and low secondary) Nasjonale prøver
Name of the agency in charge of administering the test The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training
Grade(s) in which the test is applied The tests are conducted in Grade 5 (ISCED 1), 8, and 9 (ISCED 2)
Areas of knowledge covered by the test Reading, mathematics, and English. In Grade 5 and 8, tests are taken in all three competencies. In Grade 9, only tests are taken in reading and mathematics
Year of adoption 2003

description

National standardized tests were adopted in 2003 in Norway, in response to the need for more systematic information about learning outcomes.

 The first round of national testing in reading and mathematics was conducted in the spring of 2004. The year after, national tests were carried out in reading, mathematics, English and writing. The first two rounds of national testing met strong criticism. Evaluation reports pointed towards the low quality of the tests and a large number of students in upper secondary schools boycotted the tests, with support from the School Student Union of Norway. In 2005, a time-out in the implementation of national testing was adopted, during which the quality of the tests could be improved. In 2007, the national tests were re-launched. The re-introduction of the tests witnessed considerably less criticism, in particular given that the conduct of the tests had been shifted from the end of the 4th, 7th, 10th and 11th grade to the beginning of the 5th, 8th, and 9th (so, the test was less perceived as a final grading tool) . Moreover, in line with the new quality criteria, the basic skills that were tested were reduced from four to three. Since 2007, the national tests aim to measure pupils’ proficiency in math, english, and reading, as basic skills across subjects.

The national tests have a two-sided purpose. On the one hand, the tests aim to monitor learning outcomes of Norwegian pupils and thereby provide valuable information to actors at different levels (e.g. national, regional, local, and school level). On the other hand, the tests are supposed to be an educational tool for pupils, teachers, and school management, that can be used us such to foster improvement. 

National test results are publised on the web-site Skoleporten, in addition to other information, e.g. on the school’s learning environment and resource situation. There exists political disagreement about the relevance and appropriateness to publicise national test results. In 2005, it was decided to no longer publicize national test results at the school level, a decision that remained unchanged up until 2018, when the new conservative-liberal coalition decided to again publicize results. 

SPECIFIC ACCOUNTABILITY POLICIES 
AND TOOLS ATTACHED TO THE NATIONAL TEST

  • NAME OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY POLICY YEAR PARTICIPATION PRINCIPAL-AGENT RELATIONSHIP CONSEQUENCES
    The School Portal (Publication of test results) 2004
    2005
    reintroduced in 2018
    Compulsory

    Principal:
    Parents, general public

    Actor:
    Schools, local education authorities

    Symbolic consequences (reputation)
  • NAME OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY POLICY YEAR PARTICIPATION PRINCIPAL-AGENT RELATIONSHIP CONSEQUENCES
    Municipal Quality Assessment Systems: procedures for monitoring and following-up school results, to be decided upon by school owners (municipalities) 1996 Compulsory

    Principal:
    Local education authorities

    Actor:
    Schools

    Symbolic consequences (reputation); restriction of autonomy, in rare cases, financial consequences, e.g. salary bonuses for principals working in high-performing schools
  • NAME OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY POLICY YEAR PARTICIPATION PRINCIPAL-AGENT RELATIONSHIP CONSEQUENCES
    National publication of value-added indicators 2016 Compulsory

    Principal:
    Ministry of Education and Research, Regional authorities, Local education authorities

    Actor:
    Local education authorities, Schools

    Symbolic consequences (reputation)

INDEX OF SCHOOL AUTONOMY 

(OECD, PISA 2015 Database)

NORWAY

72.7%

OECD average

71.3%
 

Source: (OECD, 2015)


PEDAGOGICAL AND MANAGERIAL 
SCHOOL AUTONOMY

Managerial autonomy (financial), School autonomy over resource allocation, % of responses 
“only principals and teachers” (OECD, PISA 2015, Database)

  Selecting teachers for hire Firing teachers Establishing teachers’ starting salaries Determining teachers’salaries increases Formulating the school budget Deciding on budget allocations within the school
Norway (principals)
OCED average
96,2
70,3
76,6
57,4

13,8
20,1

20,8
23,4
74,6
56,3
94,9
75,9
Norway (teachers)
OCED average
2,8
9,8
0,5
1,3
0,5
0,7
0,9
1,4
0,9
6,3
10
14,8

Source: (OECD, 2015)


PEDAGOGICAL AUTONOMY OVER 
CURRICULA AND ASSESSMENTS

% of students in schools whose principals responded that only “principals and/or teachers” are responsible of the following tasks (OECD, PISA 2015 Database).

  Establishing student assessment policies Choosing which textbooks are used Determining course content Deciding which courses are offered
Norway (principals)
OCED average
67,6
61,4
71,6
31,9
39,9
27,1
80,5
63,9
Norway (teachers)
OCED average
62,2
66
87,3
81,8
87,3
67,8

37,0
41,7

Source: (OECD, 2015)

legislation

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Education Act

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Private Education Act

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references

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Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. (2011)
OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes. 
Country Background Report for Norway. 

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Steffensen, K, Ekren, R., Zachrisen, O. O., and Kirkebøen, L. J. (2017)
Er det forskjeller i skolers og kommuners bidrag til elevenes læring i grunnskolen? En kvantitativ studie.
Rapporter 2017/2. Oslo: Statistisk Sentralbyrå. 

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USEFUL LINKS


 
 

our research team in chile

  • Jorunn
    Møller

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  • Guri
    Skedsmo

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  • Ann
    Elisabeth Gunnulfsen

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  • How to cite:
    Camphuijsen, M. (2018). SAWA World Atlas: Norway, Reforming Schools Globally: A Multi-Scalar Analysis of Autonomy and Accountability Policies in the Education Sector (REFORMED).
    Retrieved from: http://www.reformedproject.eu/