How lower secondary students in Finland, Sweden and Norway evaluate their Language Arts and Mathematics teachers

Professors Astrid Roe, Michael Tengberg and Marte Blikstad-Balas, representing QUINT LISA Nordic Study, present their latest findings at the conference AEA-Europe 2019 "Assessment for transformation: teaching, learning and improving educational outcomes", 13-16 November 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.


When and where: Saturday 16 November 2019, 09.30-10-00, Session T: Assessing Mathematics II, Room: Castelo 1-2. Chair: Grace Grima

Title: "The Nordic student experience: How do students in Finland, Norway and Sweden experience instructional quality in Language Arts and Mathematics?"

Authors: Astrid Roe, Michael Tengberg, Marte Blikstad-Balas


The present study draws on survey data from Finland, Norway and Sweden. It investigates how lower secondary students in the three countries evaluate their Language arts and Mathematics teachers.  

Several studies have emphasized the benefits of using students’ evaluation when studying teaching quality. Research has shown that students are able to distinguish between teachers; students may rate one teacher high and another low based on the quality of teaching the student experiences (Ferguson, 2010). When compared to other research methods, studies indicate that student surveys can be as reliable as, for example, observation protocols and that surveys provide more information than both achievement scores and observation protocols (Kane & Staiger, 2012), and that the same students can evaluate one teacher high and another teacher low based on the quality of the teaching (i.e.  Worrell & Kuterbach, 2001). In the present study we have employed a thoroughly validated survey, the Ferguson Tripod Survey, Ferguson, 2010, developed for an American context. We have investigated to what degree Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish students from upper secondary school are able to discriminate between different aspects of their teachers’ instruction in Language Arts and Mathematics – and to what degree their responses provide new information about instructional quality, which can be used to develop instructional practices further. The survey is called “the seven C’s” and contains 38 items, each fit into one of seven categories: Care, Control, Clarify, Challenge, Captivate, Confer and Consolidate. (Ferguson, 2010). Each item has five response options ranging from “never” to “always”.


The response patterns in the three countries had many similarities, although some items showed significant differences between countries. In general, students in all three countries scored the constructs «Care» and «Control» high, but some single items in the other contructs were rated low, particularly within the construct «Confer» (students’ opportunities to participate in class). We found only small or no gender differences. However, boys seemed to experience that their teacher more often listened to their ideas and opinions and cared for them than girls did.  

The study contributes to the knowledge of how students experience the teaching of LA and Mathematics in the three countries at the lower secondary level. It also shows which learning-promoting activities occur frequently, and not least which appear less frequently than expected. Further, it reveals interesting similarities and differences between the three Nordic countries. 

About the conference

This text is borrowed from the AEA conference website

The conference focuses on the manner in which professionals in educational assessment are adapting their work to the changing role of assessment in society. There are significant differences between the extent and level of assessment experience found in institutes responsible for educational measurement as well as between the professionals working within these institutes. These differences can be found in roles, in tradition, in type of tests or exams and in mode of delivery.  Some institutes  already have a long-standing tradition in the development of assessments, others have yet to start. Some are examining bodies, responsible for exam construction and administration, while others produce summative standardized tests for the teaching community. Some institutes  create formative assessments, others  carry out research in support of educational measurement. Some institutes have a long history of test development and started to digitalize their paper-based chains in order to improve efficiency, while others set out from scratch in the digital world.

One thing they all do have in common: they all have the ambition to serve education with assessment instruments fit for purpose and of high quality in an ever changing environment whilst at the same time anticipating future demands that will be put upon assessment.

What are the main features of this future assessment? And how can we adequately prepare for future assessment?

Published Nov. 11, 2019 9:14 AM - Last modified Aug. 2, 2021 10:09 AM