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Mainstream assessment systems - Norway

In Norway, the concept of "basic education" is used to refer to a 13-year school system encompassing the ages of 6 to 19. The last three years, from age 16 to 19, is called higher secondary education. Higher secondary education is not compulsory, however all youths have an individualised right to receive higher secondary education. It is, in other words, a right to receive schooling, rather than an obligation to attend such. Compulsory basic education in Norway encompasses age 6 to 16, i.e. from Year 1-10. Children and youths have both the right to receive, as well as the obligation to attend, basic education classes encompassing the primary and lower secondary levels. The primary schools encompass Year 1-7, i.e. ages 6 to 13. No national exams exist at the primary level, nor are any grades given. Grades are only first assigned at the lower secondary level in the form of a grading scale utilising six different grades. At the end of the lower secondary level, national as well as local exams are conducted. The primary school level is what will be described in this report. The dividing lines within the basic education programme will remain the same after the introduction of the reform, nor will exams and grades be used at the primary school level.

Compulsory primary and lower secondary schooling in Norway is based upon the residency-based school principle. This means that all children attend the primary and lower secondary schools that are located nearest to them or the schools in the immediate vicinity that they apply to. This also applies for children with special educational needs. No state special schools have existed since 1992, apart from those for deaf pupils. Only in very special cases do children with special educational needs go to separate special schools. These special schools are established by the municipalities in the absence of an offer from the state. 

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