University of Oslo in Norway is an associated partner to the ISI-TL project through Guri Skedsmo’s post doc project which is part of the Norwegian research project Visible Feedback (Vifee) which is lead by Dr. Guri Skedsmo and Dr. Therese N. Hopfenbeck.

Using data to govern quality development in education:
Local quality management and schools’ responses to new policy expectations

Compared to countries in the ISI-TL project such as England and the Netherland, Norway has been a late-comer in terms of applying accountability devices such as decentralising responsibility combined with introducing national standardized tests, and creating systems for charting and publishing results. Norway has not yet introduced school inspection procedures as we know them in the other participating countries in the ISI-TL project. The municipalities are responsible for primary and lower secondary schools in terms of adapting the national curriculum to local needs, running in-service training for teachers and school leaders, and ensuring the quality of schooling. It is required by law that the municipalities establish a system for quality management which implies developing procedures for evaluating and following up the results of the schools. State supervision of the municipalities and their schools is put in place to ensure that the municipalities follow up on their responsibilities. The state supervision is carried out by the County Governor. The schools are considered as self-governing result units that report to the municipalities. The principals have the overall responsibility for the development of the school practice, to follow up on state and local priorities, and to follow up on educational outcomes achieved.

Although the law requires that the municipalities establish system for quality management (The Education Act 2003), a study showed in 2007 showed that about two third of the municipalities so far did not establish such a system (The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training 2006). Recently, in order to support municipalities with “extraordinary challenges” the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training has recruited a group of 49 advisers who are responsible for supporting these municipalities and their schools to 1) help students to learn more, 2) to improve the learning environment, and 3) to prevent drop out from upper secondary schools (The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training 2010). The criteria to become an adviser comprise being a successful school leader or an administrative at the municipal level. This support system is, however, purposefully separated from school supervision and monitoring functions.