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Learning and teaching - Denmark

In the municipality of Karlebo, a small municipality north of Copenhagen, is situated the Egedalsskolen (www.egedalsskolen.dk). For the past 5 years Egedalsskolen has worked systematically with assessment issues. The school has 415 pupils and 42 teachers divided into 10 Year groups with 2 classes in each group, an average dispersion in Denmark.

Egedalsskolen has its own local competence centre to supervise the teams of teachers. Coordinators from the centre and the teacher team have 10 meetings per year where pupils from each of the classes are subject for discussion. Furthermore, the school management and the competence coordinator meet once a fortnight with the local school psychologist. Other relevant key persons may attend these meetings, e.g. a class teacher, a social worker or a leisure-time teacher (many Danish children attend leisure-time facilities for which a leisure-time teacher is employed to work with the children). The meetings primarily aim to coordinate the work, but they also have a preventive effect, i.e. they facilitate earlier intervention for children with special needs.

A coordinator, who works as coordinator at the centre, states that “these on-going meetings have enhanced inclusion, so that the number of segregated children has fallen significantly”. Furthermore, Egedalsskolen has introduced screening of new children once a year to make sure the new 1st forms are composed in the best way possible. The screening takes place in co-operation with the leader of the 0 forms (earlier referred to as pre-school class, a transition class between kindergarten and school) and the competence centre coordinators. Focus is on the child’s academic potential and social competencies.

Egedalsskolen has introduced its own assessment methods, mainly in the form of interviews. These take place 4 times a year, where whole school days are dedicated to interviews between each individual pupil and his or her teachers. The first interview takes place in August, at the beginning of the school year, where individual goals for the year will be set. In November and March there are follow-up interviews to see whether these goals have been reached. The interview is set for approx. 15 minutes per pupil. Assessment interviews are performed in May.  Apart from this, there are 2 interviews between school and home during the school year. They take place in November and March, just after the follow-up interviews.

One of the teachers state that “The pupils are well-prepared for the interviews. Questionnaires are handed out to the pupils in advance, to be filled out in co-operation with the parents. The interviews are focused on the pupils’ academic skills, but social issues are also touched upon”. In the questionnaire the pupils describe their own role during the lessons and their expectations to the outcome. They will also use log books for the documentation of their work during the school year. The Headmaster states that “Teachers are very fond of the log book as a supplement to the questionnaires”.

The interviews are initiated already in the 0 Year in order to let the pupils have responsibility for their own learning right from the beginning.

An on-going assessment between teachers and the head teacher take place parallel with the teacher-pupil assessments. Thus, the head teacher will attend classes on a regular basis. His/her observations will be followed up by interviews between the head teacher and the teacher. “The head teacher always receives a lot of information, but it is very important to also obtain  personal experience”, states the head teacher.

There have been no pupils segregated from Egedalsskolen during this school year (cf. subsection 2 of section 20 in the Act on the Folkeskole, laying down rules for the provision of special education and other special educational assistance for children in need of this). According to the deputy manager of the school, this is due to the systematic methods of assessment and inclusion applied at all levels in the school.

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