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Challenges and tendencies - Denmark

Denmark is – as most other countries – challenged with at the same time an increased formal assessment culture and an increased inclusive structure. These tendencies can be considered as conflicting, but there are several examples showing new and positive tendencies, which both promote useful assessment and inclusion.

Below are described, examples of assessment and inclusion. The first one deals with initiatives primarily for pupils who are very difficult to include in the Danish school system, namely those with a disturbing and inattentive behaviour. The other example describes the systematic work with new assessment methods within a mainstream school. (Please refer to the Annex below for an article by the Minister of Education regarding Danish ‘evaluation culture’).

The main change – or transition – in Denmark is now going from an input governed system with very limited assessment to an output governed system with widespread national, adaptive testing and publication of final exam results. The main reasons for change are the competitive demands of globalisation with focus on quality for invested money combined with the PISA results.

The change extends to the trend to make schools more inclusive. There will be good reasons for schools to try to segregate students with special needs to special schools as it will improve their average results from testing and final exams. Parents’ free choice of schools may even worsen the tendencies.

The main challenge will be to strengthen the importance of formative assessment as the essential tool of quality assurance in all educational settings. A strengthened formative assessment can be the main component in assuring that all pupils, both those with special needs and those who are exceptionally gifted, to reach their potential level of academic and social development. Also factors mentioned in the “Good examples” project, mission statement, management, organisation, team teaching, self assessment and teaching strategies must be emphasised as means of good school performance.

More information can be found in the annex.

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