03 SES 02, Balancing Curriculum Regulation and Freedom across Europe (Part 2)
Symposium: continued from 03 SES 01
This presentation examines the way professional freedom is shaping as well as being shaped by curriculum policy across two periods of compulsory school reform in Norway. By positioning the study within the field of curriculum research we are above all interested in how national curricula specify their core elements, such as overall purposes, principles, subject matter contents, aims and evaluation criteria. A core research problem is how the constellations of curriculum elements correspond with expectations among different groups of reform actors, in particular school principals and teachers. A range of reform studies claims that a detailed curriculum restricts professional freedom in schools. Our own studies based on surveys and documentary analysis, as well as research findings from evaluation research in Norway, shows that a national curriculum which focuses on both content and competence aims creates room to move for professionals within the local districts and schools. Our examination also demonstrates that reform actors’ conceptions and preferences are changing along with international reform towards specification of minimum content and assessment criteria, partly contradicting the existing curriculum in Norway, which is still wide by not yet specifying qualifications in terms of measurable outcomes.
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