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Assessment policy: introduction - Norway

As mentioned previously, the Norwegian educational system is currently in the midst of an on-going reform. The Norwegian curriculum for primary schools (L97) that was implemented in 1997 is going to be replaced with a new curriculum whose implementation will be complete in all primary school levels by autumn 2007. Individual measures connected with this implementation of a new curriculum have already been commenced. The descriptions given in this report will thus be restricted in part to the applicable regulations and in part to the challenges that the educational system will be facing in the future.

There is a basis for saying that there has been an increasing interest during the past ten years in formative assessment programmes in primary and lower secondary schools. Many teachers and schools are organising the education in a different manner, something that also leads to there being a need for more varied assessment tools that allow pupils to participate to a larger extent in the assessment process and that clearly allow the assessment to be a part of the course of the education. The pupil becomes a participant, an active, transacting person in many phases of the assessment in conjunction with, and under the guidance of the teacher. 

There is in many ways a basis for saying that the increasing interest in assessment is arising both from external pressures as well as from a need felt from within. In this manner, the two forces are acting in parallel. One challenge existing particularly in the lower secondary level as well as the higher secondary is to have the concept of an assessment turn in focus from marks and to forms of assessment that promote learning and activate the pupils. At primary school level the challenge is to have assessment without grades focus on learning. Also, for the entire basic education, including for pupils with special educational needs, a formative assessment must be introduced as an integrated part of the entire learning process. ”Culture for learning” is the name of the Norwegian Parliamentary White Paper on the reform. The creation of a culture for learning also applies to a large extent to the field of assessment.

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