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PhD Projects

LEA hosts PhD projects that generate knowledge about and from large-scale assessments and disseminate this knowledge to relevant audiences. LEA provides daily supervision and strategic meetings to support PhD candidates in all possible ways.

More PhD projects can be found on LEA's Norwegian webpage

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Bas Senden


This PhD project aims to improve our knowledge on measuring teaching quality and the association between teaching quality and a variety of student learning outcomes. Central questions in this project are: “To what extent can we validly and reliably measure teaching quality?”, “To what extent can teaching quality be associated with students’ well-being, motivation, or achievement?”, or “To what extent do certain types of teaching practices work better for some group of students?”. Theoretically, the project builds on previous research identifying four important dimensions of teaching quality: classroom management, supportive climate, cognitive activation, and instructional clarity. The project is situated in the larger Teachers’ Effect on Student Outcomes (TESO) project, which is associated with the Large-scale Educational Assessment (LEA) research group and the Unit for Quantitative Analysis in Education (EKVA). The preliminary time frame for the project is from February 2020 until May 2024.

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Oleksandra Mittal


The overarching agenda of my PhD-project is educational equity and equality in  Nordic schools investigated from three levels: conceptual, methodological and analytical challenges in measuring equity and equality with the ILSA and other empirical data collected in schools; in-depth analyses of the measures of socioeconomic status available in international large-scale assessments (ILSAs); discovering mediating and moderating mechanisms that may mitigate socioeconomic inequalities. To pursue my research aims, I use the following methods and techniques: item response theory (IRT)-based methods; structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis (single- and multilevel); systematic review.

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Ragnhild Engdal Jensen


The main aim of my research project is to explore whether paper-based and on-screen reading assessments measure the same underlying reading construct. Currently we can observe a trend where paper-based reading assessments are carbon-copied and replaced with digitally delivered, on-screen assessments: in 2015 the PISA reading assessment was conducted on-screen for the first time, and from 2016 it is planned that the Norwegian national tests in reading will be as well. I want to draw attention to the fact that the way students read texts and solve items, may be different, depending on the test delivery mode, which in turn could affect students test results. To examine the questions I raise in my project, I want to analyze PISA and national test data to identify tasks where the test delivery mode influences students’ comprehension. In addition a questionnaire will be developed to investigate how students view reading on paper and on-screen. Finally, I want to develop a parallel test utilizing assessment items for which a difference between the two test delivery modes has been observed and use eye tracking methodology to investigate how students read texts on paper and screen.

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Fazilat Siddiq


This dissertation is concerned with assessment of primary and secondary students’ information, communication and technology (ICT) literacy. The overarching aim of the dissertation is to investigate the positions and perspectives of different actors (teachers and students) and practices (assessment instruments) to portray how educational systems can monitor and support the development of students’ ICT literacy. The background for the research focus is the importance of ICT literacy for preparing students for the digital era. Thus, the responsibility of teachers as facilitators of students’ learning of ICT literacy and the critical role of assessments to monitor and seek to realize this objective is emphasized. Three individual papers contribute to the overarching aim by addressing distinct research questions and applying different methods.

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Andreas Pettersen


My PhD project is about identifying the mathematical competencies needed to solve mathematics test items and about which item features determine test performance. A theoretical framework with descriptions of six mathematical competencies, and four levels of demand for each competency, will be used to analyse items from PISA 2012 and a Norwegian 10th grade mathematics exam. The identified competency requirements of the items will be used to examine 1) the predictability of item difficulty, 2) the alignment between the Norwegian mathematics curriculum, the exam and the PISA test, and 3) the possibility of assessing students competency profiles.