Exams could become a thing of the past for Norwegian pupils after the country’s education directorate said that it would assess the current system and explore the possibility of alternatives.
“In the slightly longer term, the directorate will also try out alternatives to the current exam system,” Per Kristian Larsen-Evjen, department director for upper secondary education, told newspaper Aftenposten.
The directorate will also be undergoing research on how exams work. For the third year in a row, exams in Norway for 10th graders and students graduating high school were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Experts are split on whether exams being cut from the curriculum would be a good thing, though.
Professor and assessment researcher Tony Burner from the University of Southeast Norway believes that the pandemic opened people’s eyes to the possibility of a schools system without exams.
“Many teachers say they got more time for teaching and mid-term assessment after exams were cancelled. And many students have experienced less stress,” Burner told Aftenposten.
However, the Norwegian Teachers’ Association is more sceptical about the prospect of an exam-free curriculum.
The association’s leader, Helle Christin Nyhus, said that exams are an essential part of a comprehensive assessment system. However, Nyhus did add that the association would be involved in discussions on how exams can be adapted to be more fit for purpose.
One student told Aftenposten that exams place too much importance on a single day and don’t allow pupils to demonstrate the breadth of what they have learnt.
“I think exams are a bad assessment. If you have a bad day on the exam day, it can negatively affect your diploma and future plans. Besides, we do not get to show the breadth of what we have learned in a single exam,” Tuva Louise Enger told the paper.