Master Christina Elde Mølstad
Title of dissertation:
State-Based Curriculum-Making - A Study of Curriculum in Norway and Finland.
This educational science study explores state-based curriculum-making in two Nordic countries by examining national curriculum policy for compulsory education in Norway andFinland. The study is primarily focused on examining (1) how state-based curriculum policies in Norway and Finland imply different approaches to steering and controlling compulsory education, and (2) in what ways state-based curriculum-making influences the distribution of responsibility between actors at different levels in the education system.
This study has a qualitative comparative research design that relies on thick descriptions of state-based curriculum-making in the two countries to conduct content analysis of documents and interviews. Conceptual equivalence, linguistic equivalence, and contextual equivalence (Backström-Widjeskog & Hansén, 2002; Pepin, 2002) is used to ensure validity in this comparative study. As such, the study compares structures established for steering and controlling education by content, composition, language and policy documents applied in the curriculum framework.
The overall findings indicate two different approaches to state-based curriculum-making. Moreover, this study illuminates a Norwegian strategy of steering by supplemental documents where education is steered and controlled through input control and expectations. Product control is also present in learning outcomes as competence aims. Finland employs a different approach to state-based curriculum-making based on Didaktik, which structures the Finnish curriculum and provides curriculum-centred steering and traditional licensing. Further, the state-based curriculum-making in Norway is characterised as both soft and hard governing, while the Finnish curriculum documents represent only hard governing. This arrangement implies that responsibility in Norway under the current reform is redistributed and divided between the curriculum administration level and the teacher profession.