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NOU 2015: 8

The School of the Future — Renewal of subjects and competences

To table of content

6 Implementation

Figure 6.1 Illustration Chapter 6

Figure 6.1 Illustration Chapter 6

In the preceding chapters the Committee describes and discusses the need to renew the content of school, and recommends how competences for the future can be the foundation for the content in school of the future and for subject renewal. The Committee finds that the changes are necessary to satisfy the competence requirements we will face in the future and also to provide better learning. This chapter describes what will be necessary to ensure that the Committee’s recommendations are realised in school.

The national authorities must prepare an overriding knowledge-based strategy for the process of renewing the content of school where the focus will be on dialogue and anchoring the recommendations with the stakeholders. The Committee would like to point out that the capacity and competence that have been established through the introduction of the Knowledge Promotion Reform give a solid foundation on which the further work can be based. The strategy must take the complex structure of the various stakeholders, cultures and systems that are involved into consideration, and most also be based on the realisation that implementation will have a number of phases. Measures such as continuing education, capacity building and school based competence development projects will be included in the implementation work. The schools’ work with the subject curricula must be continuous and start with how the education and training can contribute to good learning for the pupils. Quality assessment and evaluation of national strategies, local measures and local curriculum work will be necessary measures to achieve the goals.

6.1 Coherent strategy

The Committee recommends that a complete and comprehensive strategy should be developed for the implementation work. If school policy on the local level is to be realised, it is important that the national authorities provide support. A coherent strategy is a means to promote engagement, understanding and responsibility in the whole governance chain and should contribute to making the entire sector pull in the same direction. Key elements in an implementation strategy for following up the Committee’s recommendations will be

  • dialogue and anchoring of the processes (ownership)

  • coordination of resources and measures

  • capacity-building and competence development

  • strengthening the local work on the subject curricula

  • necessary changes in the Quality Assessment System

  • research-based evaluation

6.1.1 Knowledge about and experiences of change processes

National and international research on implementation and changes provides solid knowledge about how to facilitate change processes. An implementation process succeeds best when there are clear links between goals and measures for renewal, and when the development processes embed the changes in the system where there is good dialogue across levels and stakeholders. It is important that the measures that are intended to lead to change can have effect over time and that they pull in the same direction. Capacity and competence should be built through collective learning processes and be adapted to the different levels.1

The evaluation of the Knowledge Promotion Reform shows that the strategy developed to implement the changes it introduced was inadequate. It was particularly found that the local level did not have the competence to work with the subject curricula as had been assumed. Many found the work to be comprehensive and demanding, and the local level experienced that it received little support.2 The national authorities had no clear strategy for how to support the schools in the implementation of the reform. The evaluation suggests that several measures introduced in the middle of the process, such as guides for the curriculum work, should have been developed earlier.3

In the decade after the introduction of the Knowledge Promotion Reform development projects were carried out in many fields, for example in connection with the work on basic skills, assessment practices and competence development. Capacity and competence have been increased on both the national and local level, and several of the projects have been accompanied by evaluations. In the work with a coherent strategy to implement the proposed changes to school content this work must be used.

International research confirms that visions, goals and subject curricula are understood differently across administrative levels and schools, and also internally in one and the same school. Therefore it is not sufficient to understand change processes as hierarchical processes occurring “top down”. The school system must also be understood as a “loosely connected“ system consisting of various sub-systems with separate cultures, ways of acting and values.4 The stakeholders on the various levels should experience that the expectations are addressed directly to them, and understand what the intention of the changes is, and should feel included in the process. The strategy must therefore include all stakeholders, from the Ministry to each teacher. As supporting players for pupils’ learning, parents are also a target group for the strategy.

6.1.2 Different phases in the change work

The Committee underline that it will take time to implement the changes connected to the school of the future. They will occur in several phases and involve many parties across levels. To mobilise the stakeholders, processes should be established to encourage dialogues between administration levels and groups.5 The implementation strategy should also introduce processes on the school owner level, school leader level, with teaching staffs and teacher teams, and be connected to goals and the reasons for the changes.

The first stage in the implementation work is the initiation phase where embedding the changes and creating dialogues on important principles in the renewal work will be important. The second phase concerns implementation of the changes. Here there must be room for both innovation and adjustments through dialogue between relevant stakeholders. In the third phase adjustments will be made according to evaluations and new knowledge, and measures such as competence development programmes and supporting structures can then be further adjusted for perceived needs in the sector. In the fourth phase, the renewed subject curricula will be a common goal and the basis for teaching practice, new patterns of responsibility and roles will have been established and the development work will take place across stakeholders and levels in an established structure.6

Figure 6.2 Illustration Chapter 6

Figure 6.2 Illustration Chapter 6

6.1.3 Dialogue and anchoring

Research on implementation shows the importance of networks and dialogues in creating change. The national level should have the responsibility for promoting dialogue and providing meeting-places, ensuring that supporting structures are developed and used, and ensuring that the time gap between the decision to make the changes and when they are to be introduced is adequate so they are well anchored among school owner, school leaders and teachers.

The Ministry and the Directorate should be in continuous dialogue with the school owners to ensure a good information flow and good cooperation. The County Governors can also contribute in the work on embedding the changes and carrying out local development work. The work on implementing the changes will benefit from the involvement of organisations and research/teaching environments in this process. The teacher training institutions will be an important partner throughout the process.

The Committee recognize the need for the regional and local collaboration to start in parallel with clarifications about various aspects of the process on the national level. The school owners depend on early information from the national level, clear expectations and possibilities to determine how the expectations can be satisfied, for example by establishing networks with other school owners and starting the embedding process in their own schools.

The Committee underlines the importance of the parents’ role in the implementation work and school’s practice. Competences will be developed and practised at school and in the home. Exchange of information, dialogues and guidance between the school/teacher and parents are important if the parents are to be in a position to support their children’s learning. It will be important to strengthen school’s cooperation with the parents and to continue to develop the school’s procedures for school-home cooperation, particularly in primary and lower secondary school.

6.1.4 Coordination of resources and measures

The national level has various governance resources and measures that can be used when renewing the content of school. Legal, financial and educational measures are important in governing school, and these must be combined in a way that will lead them to reinforce each other. Evaluations should be applied to adjust the measures throughout the process. Financial measures and incentives are a national and local responsibility. However, studies show that in countries such as Norway, where the expenses for school are on a high level, it is just as important to consider how the resources are spent.

Coordination of measures generally concerns making different measures pull in the same direction, and with the intention of contributing to the desired changes. An example of the need for coordination of measures is the Committee’s proposal that support and guidance material must be developed at the same time and that it should support the renewed subject curricula to contribute to changes in teaching and assessment practices.

6.2 Capacity-building and competence development

Competence development in the form of continuing education and school-based measures will be an important part of developing school and creating changes.

Strengthening the capacity of schools and school owners is important, but no guarantee that what happens in classrooms will be in accordance with the intentions behind the changes.7 All changes in school depend on the practices of teachers and will need teachers to be engaged and involved in the implementation work. They will also have to be motivated and understand why and how they should develop and improve their teaching practice. This means that the teachers have to understand what the changes imply and are about. They must also understand that they have to improve their teaching practice and develop a research-based teaching practice.8 The competence development measures must focus on the competences for the future, the renewed subjects and the teaching and assessment practices connected to these.

Textbox 6.1 Oppland County: With creative competence as the point of departure for learning

Creative partnership (Kreativt partnerskap) is a project in Oppland County which supports the schools in their work with the pupils’ subject-specific and creative competences. The project also aims to contribute to more varied teaching methods and learning across the subject curricula.

Creative Partnership

Creative Partnership aims to develop and give feedback on pupil’s and teachers’ creative competence. The project defines being creative as having curiosity, persistence, imagination, discipline and the ability to cooperate.

Schools with classes that want to participate in the project send an application to the county authorities. When a project starts, the county authorities hire a project manager, called a creative agent. The agents are often artists who in their work are accustomed to cooperating closely with others, and are disciplined, reflected and open.

The creative agent and the teachers plan the project together:

  • Which challenges does the school want to address through this project?

  • Which areas of the curriculum will the project touch on?

  • Which creative processes and/or artistic expressions are to be used in the project?

  • Which of the creative competences need to be developed?

The cooperation with the external and creative agent gives the teachers new ideas and strategies they can use in the classroom and many teachers find that the project also helps them create change in the teaching after the project has been completed.

Hard work for lasting change

Gjøvik Upper Secondary School is one of the schools participating with several classes in the project over a period of two years. Two of these have been connected to increasing the competence in and the motivation for learning mathematics.

In one of the classes the majority of the pupils wanted to become hairdressers. The teachers and the creative agent agreed that there was a need to improve the class environment and to strengthen the vocational orientation of the mathematics subject. To accomplish this they used external competence, a person with long experience as a hairdresser and who has also worked extensively with motivation and mastering. Together they prepared a teaching programme where the mathematics teaching was connected to operating a hairdressing salon. After the project, the grade level in the class rose, absence went down and the class reported better well-being.

In another class the pupils wanted to work in a day-care institution, and also in this case the creative agent and the teachers developed a project with vocationally focused mathematics through the design of a day-care institution. A day-care institution entrepreneur was used to inform about the professional aspect of day care and an architect was employed to guide the pupils in the work to draw and design the day-care institution. In conjunction with the teachers, the creative agent and the external experts prepared a teaching programme where the pupils needed to use financial calculations and geometry in their work to design a day-care institution. In the project the pupils also found that they needed to work more on developing the competences of cooperation and persistence.

With Creative Partnership the county authorities have helped to create change in the schools. It is hard work, but it gives results.

6.2.1 Teacher training

The national authorities should determine which areas have a particular need for competence-raising to satisfy the overriding objectives of the competences for the future. This work should be in the form of dialogue and common criteria made for the various levels so that the real need for competence-raising will form the basis for the measures in this area.

A combination of national efforts for teacher training, continuing education for teachers and school leaders and local work with professional development will strengthen the capacity in school. Future teacher training that includes Master’s degree programmes will provide teachers with in-depth studies in subjects on all levels and years in primary and lower secondary school. The Committee's recommendations for competences for the future also impact the content of teacher training and continuing education for teachers.

In cooperation with the national education authorities, school owners and teachers, the teacher training in universities and colleges must offer relevant education programmes that can satisfy the need for competence-raising. The national centres may contribute to didactics and subject didactics development work in their fields. The measures to raise competence must be designed as school-based development measures where the schools’ entire professional staff participate.

6.2.2 School owners and school leaders

Research shows that building capacity and competence development should take place in collective processes in school.9 For school owners this may mean encouraging and stimulating the use of learning networks and collective competence-raising measures where the goal is that school owners, school leaders and the teaching profession should raise their competence together. Bearing this in mind, the school owners must focus on the fact that school leaders and the teaching staffs will need updating on research-based knowledge about pupils’ learning and development, and that they will need good subject didactics competence. To plan and implement these measures the school owners must develop their competence on teaching and school and their capacity in accordance with the development work they are responsible for.

It is the duty of school leaders to plan and enable the development of necessary competence and capacity to satisfy the requirements that result from the renewed subject curricula. The teaching staff must be allowed time and space to develop together. A collective process where school leaders and teachers plan the teaching together may contribute to teachers assuming responsibility for developing their practice and individual competence in accordance with the school’s continuous development, and where they will also use and participate in the collective processes.

Teaching staffs working together and sharing practices, pedagogy, subject didactics and learning sciences will have good chances to succeed.10 Developing and using such a practice must be considered continuous work and must focus on sharing practices, relevant research and collective planning of the teaching. Therefore, the school leaders and school owners must make it possible to have cooperative structures so that the schools and the teaching staffs have time and room to develop ways of working that support the renewed subject curricula.

6.2.3 The teaching profession

As described in Chapter 5, the Committee emphasize that the recommendations for the content of school will change and renew the requirements for the teaching profession and for teaching and assessment practices. The Committee finds that advanced subject competence is developed in cooperation between school leaders and teaching staffs. Professional performance based on relevant research, reflections on the subject and competent choices of methods and ways of working in cooperation with colleagues will increase school’s capacity and may lead to increased learning outcome for the pupils.11

One part of the competence development and specialist training of teachers should be to be part of professional environments that systematically develop this type of practice, as this is competence which is built over time and through practical experiences in and outside the classroom. For example, a newly trained teacher will be able to receive guidance and participate in discussions connected to a pupil’s needs for specific methods and learning strategies and thus build his/her subject didactics competence. In addition to being offered continuing education, teachers may become teaching specialists.12 This means a teacher who over time, in his or her practice, has acquired subject and didactics specialist competence, and who is considered an expert in his or her field. In this way the teachers may assume ownership of the subject curricula and help to develop them with their own teaching in mind. The choice of content and ways of working, and the day-to-day planning and implementation of teaching, must focus on what is reasonable progression in the subjects, in the light of what the pupils learn and which subjects and competences are particularly useful to consider together.

6.3 Local work with the subject curricula

In the change processes that are an extension of the Committee’s work, there is a need to clarify what is meant by the local responsibility for the work with the subject curricula. The dissimilarities in capacity and competence of schools and school owners reveals the importance of considering the subject curricula, support and guidance material, competence development and support of locally based development processes as a comprehensive whole. To realise the content of the subject curricula it is important to have good coherence between the local and national curriculum work.

The school owners have the responsibility for ensuring that the teaching in school is accordance with the main curriculum and other rules and regulations, and that the pupils receive the schooling they are entitled to. Therefore they also have the responsibility to ensure that the local work with the subject curricula is carried out in a proper way. This means assigning roles and delegating responsibilities for the development work so that it will be easy to understand and predictable for all those involved. The goal for the school owners must be to ensure development of the total academic and subject didactics competence so that the teaching satisfies the objectives in the main curriculum. The processes in future local work with the subject curricula should therefore be arranged parallel to and based on common embedded goals relating to the future competences and the content of school. The follow-up of the work done in schools by school owners will be important. This may be done in various ways, for example through dialogues on the schools’ results in various areas.

The statutory subject curricula are legally binding for all schools. However, the rules and regulations do not make it clear that the school owners are responsible for providing for the processes and the quality of school development work related to the national subject curricula. The Committee recommends that such clarification must be given in the rules and regulations. The purpose is to clarify the responsibility of the school owners and ensure that all schools have access to and support in the continuous work with the subject curricula. Through such clarification in the rules and regulations, all school owners will need to assume responsibility for organising and enabling the schools’ development work and competence and capacity-building in this field to a higher degree than is the case today. For some school owners this will mean continuing the good work already being done. For others it may mean using new cooperative arenas and joining networks with other local authorities to ensure quality and capacity in the work. Such a clarification must be considered together with section 13-10 of the Education Act, relating to the school owner’s responsibility for having a satisfactory quality system and section 2-1 of the Regulations for the Education Act relating to school-based evaluation.

How school owners organise and implement development work in municipalities and counties has an effect on whether changes occur in the practices of schools and teachers. The work done by the school owners and schools on the subject curricula will vary, and will depend on how the schools function culturally and organisationally. The prevailing culture for development and change activities is decisive, and will determine what schools will do when working with the content of the school of the future and how they will do it.13 Because schools differ, have set different priorities and focused on different areas, the degree to which schools must improve their practices due to the renewal of the subject curricula will vary.

For the teachers, the local work with the subject curricula means examine and explore the new subject curricula, working with them and seeing this work and teaching and assessment as interconnected, and as parts of planning the pupils’ learning. The professional environment at the school will thus face new challenges. It will also receive many impulses for planning, implementing and reflecting on teaching.

Textbox 6.2 Drammen local authority: Competence development based on the pupils’ learning

The municipality of Drammen has 21 schools. With the vision The Drammen School, Norway's best school, a school where each pupil can reach his or her full academic potential and become a confident, active and independent person Drammen local authority is working with continuous development activities and competence development for the teachers and school leaders. The mobilisation for competence is a common feature of all the schools, and is also adapted to the professional levels of the leaders and teachers.

Competence mobilisation

The local authority has established a development base where resource persons with cutting-edge competence are working to plan, implement and support common competence development for teachers and school leaders. The main ambition is to work continuously with plans for measures and local curriculum activities to lift the pupils to a higher level than the living conditions index and parental education levels would indicate.

The main measure is relevant competence development programmes with a potential to improve practices in the classroom. The local authority has three overriding priority areas:

  • Leadership for development and change through distributed leadership

  • Focusing on the teacher through comprehensive competence-raising

  • Learning networks across all the schools in Drammen

As part of this work the schools are offered a resources that offer high quality competence, common meeting-places and guidance/support. The schools receive support to implement plans for initiatives, ensure progress in the implementation activities and facilitate a culture of sharing in schools and between schools. The development base offers relevant courses, networks, workshops, informal meeting points, observations, visiting programmes and so on.

One of the most important tasks for the development base has been to prepare common local curricula in the subjects of Norwegian, mathematics and English, with learning objectives and criteria for the entire compulsory learning trajectories from Year 1 to Year 10. The local curricula form the basis for good formative assessment and should make pupil mastering visible. All the schools, leaders and teachers have taken part in the work. The common effort has resulted in a common culture, language and attitude in the schools in Drammen when it comes to the local curriculum work, and due to this the collective competence has increased. The subject curricula were completed in 2012 and implemented in 2014–15.

The development base places all the activities into an activity calendar which is shared by all the schools. The calendar is published in early spring so that school staff know what to expect when planning for the next school year. The activity year is launched with a common kick-off for all schools in Drammen, where all the teachers and leaders come together for a day of information and inspiration.

Implementation ability

The ability to implement and sustain are two important premises for succeeding with long-term and continuous development work, which is realised via a professional support system that governs, develops systems and ensures the necessary restructuring in schools, academically and administratively. One must understand the school’s structure and practical conditions if this is to succeed.

An important part of the practical approach is to allocate a day/time per week for competence-raising outside teaching time for all schools. This creates time, space and meeting-places across schools and levels. The development base opens for good balance between mobilisation and sustainability in the development work, and ensures that the efforts focus on the needs of teachers and leaders in school. Drammen local authority wants teachers to contribute to the development in their subject, and has plans and activities to deal with this in the development base. Courses and learning networks are divided into levels for beginner, experienced and specialist teachers. Thus teachers and school leaders can join competence-raising initiatives on a professional level suitable for them and build their competence up to the specialist level.

The local curriculum work builds on common mapping tools and common work with the subject curricula. Relevant research on learning is also used to help teachers in their choices of methods and didactics. The teachers and the school leaders are building their profession in collective processes, while also establishing a culture for common identity and learning.

By setting up a system which strengthens the professional development in collective processes, the local authority in Drammen has built an organisation that is able to deal with continuous change.

6.4 Knowledge as the basis for development

Change processes building on knowledge about the current situation have more chances of success than processes that are not adapted to the current practice.14 On all levels, in each school, on the local authority and county authority level and on the national level, the choice of measures and their implementation should build on a relevant knowledge base. Knowledge about processes and results is also important in a change process so one can assess whether the measures are leading to the stated goals and so any necessary adjustments can be made. Development of the Quality Assessment System, systematic work and assessment competence on all levels, and research-based follow-up of implementation, are central measures for change processes over time.

6.4.1 Quality assessment

The purpose of quality assessment is to establish a basis for improving and developing the quality of the teaching. There is great variation across school owners and schools when it comes to systems and competence for using results of change and development work.15

Since its establishment in 2004, the national Quality Assessment System has been developed so that it comprises various information sources, including user studies, standardised tests, knowledge from national inspections, available statistics and analytical tools for local use. The system is designed for development purposes and for control and accountability purposes. There is a need to clarify the objectives and criteria that assessment and evaluation can use as their point of departure, such as criteria for good teaching. In the interim report, the Committee finds the need to ensure that the Quality Assessment System should reflect the breadth of the school’s objectives.16

The Committee recommends that cross-curriculum competences should be strengthen and emphasized in the school of the future. As it is recommended that they should be integrated in the subjects, information about pupil competence in subjects will be important. Schools, school owners and national authorities will also need information about pupil development of cross-curriculum competences if they are to help in focusing on them in the teaching.

There will also be a need to monitor how school facilitates pupils’ in-depth learning and progression in the subjects. This is important for the national and local governing authorities, but primarily it is important for school leaders and teachers so they can assess the quality of their own teaching practice and the collective teacher cooperation, and its importance for pupils’ learning and development.17 This requires an approach which involves observation of and reflection on the teaching practice and the collaboration between teachers and pupils. See more about this under section 6.4.3. Research and evaluation will be able to illuminate how the teaching practices in Norwegian schools are developing.

6.4.2 Developing the Quality Assessment System

Significant changes in school content must be reflected in the Quality Assessment System. The Committee recommends a review of the system to assess areas in need of development and which specific changes should be made. Several considerations will be important in such a review. Assessment instruments and other elements in the system should be adapted to the stakeholders’ differing needs for information and should reflect the breadth of the school’s objectives.18

Today’s system gives varying degrees of information about the areas of competence the Committee recommends for the school of the future. International studies give information about Norwegian pupils’ competence in individual subjects and across subjects. Through the national tests all schools and school owners and the national authorities receive information about pupils’ reading and numeracy skills and skills in reading English in selected school years. Other available information about learning outcomes in the Quality Assessment System include the overall assessment grades in subjects after Year 10 and in upper secondary education and also examination grades in a selection of subjects. The pupil survey gives information about how pupils experience the teaching, the learning environment and their own learning.

The Committee underline there will be a need for various types of tools and approaches to obtain information about the learning and competences of pupils in the school of the future. Standardised tests, such as today’s national tests, may give reliable and valid information about limited areas of competences and subjects. The field of test theory is being developed continuously, also when it comes to measuring areas that have traditionally not been tested in school.19 The results of the national tests today give information about the development of all Norwegian pupils in particular school years over time.

The competences pupils should develop in the school of the future are complex and they should be able to apply knowledge and skills in different contexts. Standardised tests do not capture the complexity of the subjects and competences. Being able to communicate, interact and participate are examples of competences requiring approaches that can assess how pupils interact with others.

There are examples from other countries where the national authorities have established systems for implementing research-based studies to assess different aspects of the subject or cross-curriculum competences of pupils. Such studies may be based on representative samples of pupils, may apply longitudinal designs and combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. It is also possible to switch between different competences and subjects over time. Research-based studies and standardised tests may ensure that all in all the Quality Assessment System may supply knowledge on different aspects of pupils’ learning and competence.

The Committee would like to point out that it is neither desirable nor feasible that the tools in the Quality Assessment System should cover the full competence pupils should develop. Considerations must be made according to priorities, the needs of different stakeholders and expenses. Moreover, much of the knowledge teachers, school leaders and school owners need must be obtained and interpreted by those who are familiar with the pupils and circumstances in the individual schools. The school leaders’ and teachers’ joint assessment of their own practices and pupils’ learning outcomes, and dialogues between the stakeholders in school are relevant approaches. If collective processes connected to school self-based evaluation, local curriculum work and teacher practices with overall assessment grades ae strengthened here they could contribute to knowledge-based development, see Chapter 5. Results from the Quality Assessment System should be followed up in these types of processes.

Figure 6.3 Illustration Chapter 6

Figure 6.3 Illustration Chapter 6

6.4.3 School-based evaluation (self-evaluation)

The school leadership and teachers must regularly assess the degree to which the school’s organisation, facilitation and implementation of the teaching contribute to achieving the objectives in the curriculum. How school plans the teaching based on the national subject curricula will be part of the school’s self-evaluation, especially when it comes to the degree to which the school’s planning and teaching contribute to pupils’ develop of competence in the subjects.

Schools may obtain information from different sources so they can be informed about the competence achievement of pupils and the quality of the school’s teaching. The use of observations, test results and the opinions and views of pupils, parents and involved parties are examples of possible approaches.

The internal evaluation school employees undertake of their own practice and activities should be the core of school self-evaluation. Elements of external assessment may strengthen the school self-evaluation if they are linked to the internal processes.20 There are examples from Norway and other countries of systems where teachers from other schools or other persons with school competence assess the practice of the schools.21 It is also important that school self-evaluation should build on research-based criteria for good practice which is embedded in the teaching staff. Follow-up by school owners and any external evaluators should be based on criteria corresponding to the professional and research-based criteria.22 The national authorities can cooperate with research institutions and the teaching profession to develop overriding criteria which school self-evaluation can build on. If the national inspectorate is developed in the direction of increased focus on practice in schools, criteria for school self-evaluation and national inspection should be considered together.

6.4.4 Research-based evaluation

To ensure a knowledge-based development of school practices it is important that the measures launched in response to this report are followed by research and evaluation. Parts of the knowledge basis in the interim report on Norwegian school build on research findings from the evaluation of the Knowledge Promotion Reform.

The goal for such evaluations is to gain insight into whether the measures that are introduced lead to the established goals for change. Evaluations may be connected to implementation processes and the effects of the measures.23 Evaluations of the Knowledge Promotion Reform have led to adjustments within the implementation process, and such evaluations are important tools for learning and development in the sector.

The evaluations should therefore focus on how the measures contribute to the development of pupils’ subject-specific and cross-curriculum competences, and how subject renewal, new subject curricula and school’s practice support these goals. Gaining insight into teachers’ work to support pupils’ progression and in-depth learning in the various subjects will require a comprehensive research design. This also applies to a research design that can provide knowledge about the connection between measures and pupils’ learning and that follows the implementation and development systematically over time. The Knowledge Promotion Reform was both a content reform and a governing reform. The proposals in this report are primarily connected to changes of content. The state’s measures must be assessed in light of whether they are appropriate for changing the content and practices of school. The national level must plan and create good conditions for the local development work based on the content of the renewed subject curricula.

6.5 The Committee’s recommendations

To realise the Committee’s recommendations for renewed content in school, they must be well anchored with all stakeholders on all levels. The Committee recognises that changes in school take time, and that the implementation must deal with a complex structure with different stakeholders, cultures and systems. The implementation strategy that is to be established must also take phases and time horizons for the work into consideration and must have control over parallel processes. Planning, dialogue and embedding, school-based competence development, continuing education and local curriculum work will be decisive. Prioritised areas within competence development should be work with the local subject curricula and teaching and assessment practices.

The Committee recommends that the national education authorities should make it possible to take part in goal-oriented and systematic work over time, and establish structures for arranging meeting-places and dialogues throughout the process. The measures recommended by the Committee must be followed up by research and evaluation that is based on local development work on pupils’ learning.

The Committee recommends the following measures:

  • An overriding coherent strategy must be developed for the introduction of renewed content in school that describes the stakeholders on the national, regional and local levels and what is expected of them, and provides a schedule showing the different phases of the implementation work.

  • A plan must be developed for competence development that points out the four areas of competence and renewed subject curricula.

  • The competence development measures must be designed as school-based competence development and continuing education, and must be followed up on the national level .

  • Research-based teaching practices in the subjects will be a prioritised area within competence development for teachers, including assessment practice connected to formative assessment and final assessment.

  • The rules must be made clearer concerning the responsibility of the school owners to facilitate quality and processes in the local curriculum work.

  • A review must be made of the Quality Assessment System to assess which areas need to be developed, including tools for assessing pupils’ learning and supporting school self-evaluation processes.

  • Changes in the content of school must be followed up by research-based evaluation.

Footnotes

1.

Fullan 2014, Mourshed et al. 2010, Earl et al. 2003, Aasen et al. 2012

2.

Sivesind 2012

3.

Aasen et al. 2012

4.

Cerna 2013, Nespor 2002, Aasen et al. 2012

5.

Earl et al. 2003

6.

Sundberg 2011

7.

Blossing et al. 2010

8.

Skolverket (the Swedish National Agency for Education) 2013

9.

Fullan 2014

10.

Timperly et al. 2007

11.

Timperly 2012

12.

The Ministry of Education and Research 2015

13.

Sundberg 2011

14.

Hayward and Hedge 2005, Fullan 2007, Mourshed et al. 2010

15.

OECD 2011, Aasen et al. 2012

16.

NOU 2014: 7 Elevenes læring i fremtidens skole, [Pupils’ learning in the school of the future],OECD 2011

17.

Timperley 2012

18.

Prøitz 2015, Newton 2007, OECD 2013a

19.

Scardamalia 2012, Spencer et al. 2012

20.

Fullan 2007, OECD 2013a

21.

Ministry of Education and Research 2011, OECD 2013a

22.

OECD 2013a

23.

Karseth et al. 2013

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