28 SES 06 A, Transnational Knowledge Networks and Policy Coalitions: Social network analyses of the 2014 Danish and the 2016 Norwegian school reform
The Norwegian study compares three different reforms over a period of over twenty years: the curriculum reforms of 1994/97, 2006, and 2016. However, the paper for the ECER symposium only deals with the most recent reform of 2016, The Knowledge Promotion Reform for primary and secondary education, which was originally launched in 2006. By this initiative, the government is proposing to reformulate the general part and the subject specific part of the national curriculum in ways that allows for more in-depth study and effective learning (St.meld no 28, 2015-16). The 2016 revision, (which will go into effect in the near future), heavily draws on a commissioned report, entitled The School of the Future NOU 2015:8. The Norwegian study was carried out by Chanwoong Baek, Bernadette Hörmann, Berit Karseth, Oren Pizmony-Levy, Kirsten Sivesind (research team leader), and Gita Steiner-Khamsi in 2016 and 2017. The Masters students from the University of Oslo, Venke Sortland, Oda Krog Buaas and Anne Dalseide assisted the research team with data entry. The Ministry of Education of Norway identified 12 sources as key documents for its 2016 reform. In order to keep the selection criteria consistent across the three reforms in Norway, we included 11 of the 12 documents as source documents in the UCINET database (Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002). In concert with the Danish study, we entered all the references made in the source documents in a database, in total 1,788 documents. Moreover, we created an attribution file with the same three variables: (i) year of publication, (ii) publisher or institutional affiliation of the author/authoring organization, and (iii) location. Drawing on policy borrowing and lending research (cf. Steiner-Khamsi, 2012), the analysis addressed the construction of transnational knowledge networks and policy coalitions. The following 4 research questions guided the Norwegian study: Which are the central knowledge networks in the Norwegian curriculum reform debate? How has international and regional knowledge shaped curriculum reforms in Norway? Which of the international large-scale student assessments (PISA, TIMSS, SIMSS, etc.) was influential? Which are the reference societies for Norwegian policy actors, as reflected in the choice of external references? Many of the most-cited documents (first-degree documents) consist of commissioned research; calling into question of why the Government treats these commissioned sources as evidence. In other words, there is a pattern of self-referentiality in evidence-based policy planning in the 2016 reform that deserves greater scrutiny and reflection.
Borgatti, S. P., Everett, M. G., & Freeman, L. C. (2002). Ucinet for Windows: Software for social network analysis. NOU 2015:8 (2015). The School of the Future. Renewal of subjects and competencies. St.meld no 28. (2015-16). Fag – fordypning – forståelse : en fornyelse av Kunnskapsløftet. Subjects – In-depth learning – Understanding: a renewal of the Knowledge Promotion Reform. Oslo: Ministry of Education and Research, Norway. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding Policy Borrowing and Lending. Building Comparative Policy Studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), Policy borrowing and lending in education (Vol. 2012, pp. 3-17). London: Nichols.
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