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Innovative assessment tools and methods - Denmark

The coherence between assessment methods and development of educational practice has not been clearly defined. But schools with an assessment culture, i.e. schools with fixed procedures where everybody is involved, show a more clear cause and effect relationship, also proven in the “Good examples” project.

Interviews between school and home are normally carried out once or twice  a year, in order to discuss the pupil’s general proficiency marks and development. It is a form of assessment practice, as a lot of information about the pupil’s academic level will be revealed through these interviews. The interviews function as tools to evaluate the pupil’s individual progress towards a goal (summative assessment) and to set up new developmental goals. They take place between the class teachers and the pupil. In many cases an individual education plan is elaborated upon the interview. This plan is written down and will constitute the basis for the next interview. Other innovative assessment tools are log books and portfolios, as mentioned earlier. A proposal to make IEP’s for all pupils – not only pupils with special needs – was passed to the parliament in spring 2006 together with 10 national, adaptive tests and suggestions (a “tool box”) for increased summative assessment.

It is clear that Denmark is in the initial stages of assessment implementation. Policies have been few but they have changed dramatically the last few years. However, resources and time allocation is very limited when it comes to municipalities and schools. There is no doubt that increased assessment will be time consuming for teachers, pupils and school principals, but it seems to be expected that increased effectiveness will provide the necessary time. The research has clearly shown that teachers’ knowledge about assessment is inadequate, and today it is not included in the curriculum for initial teacher training. Moreover attitudes linked to assessment among teachers, pupils and parents are not always positive and many look upon the central initiatives as instruments of control rather than means of creating a better environment for learning.

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