Accountability measures in Oslo’s public schools. Standardising curriculum, pedagogy and inequality?
Decentralisation and political stability gave the conservative city council in the Norwegian capital the opportunity to implement stronger marketisation within the public school system. The “Conservative party school” combined school choice, per-capita funding, an expanded testing system and publication of schools’ test results. Schools may be affected in different ways by accountability measures, depending on the school’s pupil composition and market position. Basil Bernstein’s three message systems (curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation) are used to analyse teachers’ experiences of accountability measures in “marginalised” and “privileged” school contexts. The teachers reported very similar curriculum and pedagogic priorities, with strong evaluative rules, leaving them and their pupils limited opportunities in their curriculum work. Thus, the accountability measures may threaten the intention behind the curriculum reform to improve adapted teaching for a diversity of pupil needs.