Ydesen, Christian (Assistant Professor and postdoc at Aalborg University). Folkeskolens testing practices in historical perspective – an analysis of stake- holders’ changing roles and positions in the 20th century. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 8-20. This article analyses the key stakehold- ers of educational testing and their shifting roles and positions in the 20th century.
For this purpose, the article treats three case studies encompassing distinct test prac- tices in Danish education history: the ministerial tests in effect from 1915-1954, the Emdrupborg experimental school between 1948 and 1959, and the preparation scheme in Greenland where the testing components were active between 1961 and 1971. The historical analysis throws light on the questions of which interests are present in the test practices and what are the effects of testing when implemented in practice? In conclusion the article summarizes the findings in a comparative perspec- tive across the three cases and links educational testing with contemporary debates.
Hamre, Bjørn (Assistant Professor at Aarhus University); Kousholt, Kristine (Assis- tant Professor at Aarhus University); Staunæs, Dorthe (Professor, MSO at Aarhus University) and Krejsler, John Benedicto (Assistant Professor at Aarhus University). Categorization and potentiality in school learning. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 21-43.
This article will focus on shared characteristics of the Danish national standardized testing in public school, and the ideals of being a student according to the Danish School Reform of 2014. In the article we argue that both kinds of materials (docu- ments regarding the newly implemented national standardized tests, as well as documents regarding the school reform) reflect some societal changes in the com- prehension of education, assessment, evaluation and learning. We find a match be- tween the explicated goal of the school reform; ‘that the students should be as clev- er as they can’ and in the fact that the national testing program applies computer adaptive testing (CAT), i.e. the testing program adapts to how the student answers a the single test item and related to this, delivers more difficult or simpler test items to the individual student during test taking.
The theoretical framework is based on a Foucault inspired understanding of the subject and technologies and the dispositive. The study in the article is based on different methods that stem from research in general education. That is, primarily analysis of political documents concerning the Danish national standardized tests and the Danish School reform, and secondly, ethnographic inspired fieldwork in Danish public schools.
The analysis in the article consists of theoretical informed readings of the empirical material. The material is read through different dispositives, that is the dispositive of discipline; of security and optimization as a dispositive. We argue that these readings point to substantial new directions in education policy, where new tech- nologies and ideals of education and of students draw on all three dispositives in compound and complex ways. The analysis focus, among other things, is on the spe- cial test technology in the Danish context (CAT) and conclude that this technology is a test of its time, which is a test technology that succeeds in both disciplining the ideal students as is seen in more traditional test technologies, and furthermore, has aspects of security – everybody is testable, as well as potentiality and that this in- termingles with the explicated intentions of the Danish school reform as a more profound educational intervention.
Gitz-Johansen, Thomas (Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University). When testing intervenes in pedagogy. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 44-62.
The article reports from a study of assessment practices in Danish kindergartens. The main question asked is how the increasing focus on assessment of children in kindergarten influences the pedagogical work with the children and the relations between children and adults. It is found that the focus on assessment has a number of different consequences: It influences the pedagogical style and directs it away from formerly held pedagogical ideals and values. Assessment installs a subject-ob- ject relationship between adult and child and tends to exclude a child-perspective. Also, the assessment practices tend to communicate certain ideals about normality, which may mean a decreased openness towards diversity and difference. Lastly, it is suggested that the increase in practices of assessment can be understood as a bu- reaucratic instrument for increased administrative regulation and control of kin- dergartens, but it is also found, that the kindergarten professionals may experience it as a strengthening of their professional work.
Kousholt, Kristine (postdoc, Ph.D., Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus Uni- versity). Children who participate in social test practice. Pædagogisk Psykolo- gisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 63-85.
This article is a presentation of several central analytical points from a post doc. project concerning children’s participation at and perspectives on Danish national standardized testing. The empirical material stems from qualitative interviews and notes from participatory observations in 5 school classes at four different schools.
The analytical points are all centered around the conceptualization of tests as social practice, which means that the analyses concerns how children participate in test practice, how they, together with the teachers and connected to other conditions, make sense of testing, how they both reproduce certain structures and understand- ings of test and also transform these.
Lars Holm (Associate Professor, Ph.D., Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus University). The national tests and teachers’ construction of reading proficiency. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 86-99.
In order to examine the effects for teachers on the introduction of a new national testing instrument in literacy in Denmark, this article takes its basis in a social practice perspective on testing, and argues for a research strategy inspired by La- tours’ Actor Network Theory (ANT). The research approach is demonstrated through an analysis of data focusing on teachers’ constructions of pupils’ compe- tence levels in literacy in three classes in three different cities in Denmark. The re- search was conducted over a period of six years: from 2009, when the national Dan- ish tests in literacy were introduced in these classes, and up to 2015. The analysis shows that different constructions of competence are present side-by-side, and it re- ports teaching and practices differently, and that the testing practices, not the test- ing paradigm, have changed considerably over a number of ways.
Schmidt, Lene S. K. (Assistant Professor, Ph.D., MA, University College Zealand). Crosswise language work – testing toddlers. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidss- krift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 100-111.
For a number of years the language of children in daycare institutions has received much political attention. With the dissemination of a language test from the former Danish Ministry of Family Affairs, nursery teachers have been instructed to subject three-year-old children to testing. Pedagogical Psychological counseling (PPR) is meant to ensure that the nursery teachers work with the children’s language. In this article, the main focus is on how the speech- and language therapists instruct the nursery teachers in how to test the language of the children, and how the thera- pists and nursery teachers try to unravel the needs of the children. The article dis- cusses how the language test is used to develop standardized action plans for each child. Finally, the article analyses how the language test influences the goals for pedagogical work, and it problematizes that at the same time the test paves the way for both a standardization of the nursery teachers work and the categorization of the individual child’s needs1.
Ringsmose, Charlotte (Professor at the University of Aarhus). We test where the hedge is lowest. Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3, 112-123.
Based on research, developmental psychology, cross cultural studies and existing scales for measuring quality in preschool, a newly developed tool is presented – called KIDS – designed to evaluate and develop environmental quality in early childhood settings.
The environmental scale is based on social-cultural theory, and the assumption is that developmental processes take place in interaction with the social and cultural context, and that the quality of the child care centers/preschools influences chil- dren’s development. The quality scales will be presented and discussed in connection with psychological testing in general, and the perspectives, as well as methodological issues of reliabil- ity and validity.
Allerup, Peter (Professor at Aarhus University). Can adaptive tests produce non-customized students? Pædagogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, 2015, Vol. 52, 3,
The National Adaptive IT-based Test, or simply the National Tests were ready to work on a regular basis from about 2007, after several years of preparation. Nation- al Tests are considered by the Ministry of Education as a tool for compulsory, re- peating tests for evaluation of student achievement levels in Danish state schools. The tests are intended, apart from educational tools for teachers, to provide insight into the individual student’s academic level and progress. This might be a help for the organization of teaching and showing individual progress for the student. All students in elementary school must attend ten compulsory national tests in various subjects during grade one to grade nine. It is highlighted as a positive attribute that national tests are adaptive in the sense that the difficulties of test items are adjusted, or adapted to the individual student’s skill level during the test session.
The intention is that all students, proficient as well as weak, are going to have a positive testing experience. Furthermore, it is an important aspect that achieve- ment levels can quickly and accurately be estimated. The way the adaptive princi- ple works mathematically is difficult to understand for ordinary people. The adap- tation procedure, however, has strong implications for the way the results are inter- preted and reported. You could ask, whether the technical complexity installed by the adaptive procedure is actually established at the expense of the possibilities to adapt students in simple common evaluation frameworks? Or, being a little polemi- cal: Is it now the students who are not adaptive to the principles beyond test proce- dures, considering the requirements of the tests? The article reviews the principles for the design of the adaptive national tests and consequences for the interpretation and dissemination of their results. The intention being to prepare the reader for what should be recognized as necessary technical background knowledge for the in- terpretation of the apparently simple results from national tests.