Cand.polit. Tine Sophie Prøitz
Avhandlingens tittel er:
Conceptualisations of learning outcomes in education - an explorative cross-case analysis of policymakers, teachers and scholars.
This article-based thesis presents the findings of an exploratory qualitative case study of how learning outcomes are understood in education policy by scholars, teachers and policymakers. The study question of the thesis is: How is the concept of learning outcomes conceptualised in theory and practice by different actors in different educational contexts?
Learning outcomes is considered a key concept in a changing education landscape. International organisations with influence on national education policy present one common understanding of learning outcomes. However, this thesis illustrates that the concept is contested, with a debate deeply rooted in issues of what constitutes learning and how it can be valued.
The cross-case analysis of three case studies suggests that there is an overall established and dominant understanding of learning outcomes. It also identifies alternative approaches to the concept presented by the actors studied. The analysis illustrates how several understandings are at play in practical language use between and within groups of actors, and indicates that a dominant conceptualisation limits the understanding of learning outcomes while other available understandings are left unexplored.
The thesis contributes theoretically to the field by presenting a theory-based analytical framework, which over the course of the study advances into an empirically grounded four-part model for conceptualisation of learning outcomes.
The study is relevant in the way it offers a model for consideration of different approaches to learning outcomes in education, and in its potential for identification of practices that manage to balance external requirements of policymakers with internal requirements of education.
The study has been conducted at The Department of Teacher Education and School Research Nordic at the University of Oslo and at The Nordic Institute for studies in innovation, research and education (NIFU), Oslo, Norway.