Accountability systems and uses of tests
Norway has a long-standing tradition of school-leaving exams in both lower and upper secondary schools. However, other achievement tests have only recently been introduced. Tests are building blocks of accountability systems, and the emergence of achievement tests in Norway can be interpreted as a manifestation of accountability thinking.
About the project
Many countries’ educational systems have seen the introduction of test-based accountability policies, each with different and unique features. In Norway, accountability in education has been attempted only recently. Norwegian education authorities have developed diagnostic tests to identify needs for individual assistance with national tests. National tests are used for accountability purposes, (although it is not immediately meaningful to use the national tests at grade 8 for these purposes because the majority of the students change schools between years 7 and 8). The aims are to assess the extent to which students’ basic skills are in accordance with curricula goals, to inform students, teachers, parents, school leaders, school owners, regional authorities and the nation, and to provide such information as a basis for improvement and development. In addition, school-leaving examinations, craft certificates, and final assessments are used for accountability purposes. Further, international studies (PISA, TIMSS, et cetera) are used to assess Norwegian students’ competence related to other countries, to serve as a basis for indicators on education and to form policy. The main purpose of this project is to examine and explore the uses of tests in Norway.