Department of Education

Reforming Education in Norway (RENO)

RENO investigates the newest Norwegian educational/school reform, LK20, presently being implemented in Norwegian elementary and secondary schools. Through three sub-projects, RENO examines how educational and policy ideas are introduced and developed through core reform documents, how these ideas are reflected in school among teachers and students, and finally to what extent the new ideas can be said to represent an increasing degree of standardization of the education system.

Main content

Norway shares with the other Nordic countries a tradition of national state curricula, making school reform and curriculum reform the same issue. Though Norwegian education builds on socio democratic ideas, reforms are recurrent and output-oriented curriculums, accountability systems as well as decentralization, have the last 20 years gradually replaced previous centralised input-oriented curricula. Thus, the latest Norwegian educational reform is conducted in a political sentient that has been described as increasingly marked by management by objectives and neo liberal ideas. The RENO investigation of the KL20 reform is framed by theories and research concerning the encounter of global and national educational ideas and -policies.

Subproject 1: DIRC -Discursive retention and change in LK20

In a series of discursive and semantic analyses of core reform policy documents, DIRC investigates the introduction and reception of 21st century skills, the construction of student identities and how the purpose of education – focusing especially on Bildung – is portrayed in the reform.


Hilt, L., Riese, H. and Søreide, G. (2018) “Narrow identity resources for future students: the 21st century skills movement encounters the Norwegian education policy context” Journal of Curriculum Studies  https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2018.1502356

Riese, H., Hilt, L. og Søreide, G. (In Press). Selvregulering som pedagogisk formål: Diskursive fornyelser i Fremtidens skole. Nordic Journal of Pedagogy and Critique (special issue on the teaching of life-skills and public health)

Riese, H. og Hilt, L. (forthcoming). The purpose of education and the future of Bildung. In Paulsen et al. (eds.) Global challenges – rethinking welfare-state education. New York: Routledge

Hilt, Line and Riese, H. (Accepted with revisions) Hybrid forms of education in Norwegian curriculum: A systems theoretical approach to understanding the morphologies of “new curriculum. European Educational Research Journal

Søreide, G., Hilt, L. and Riese, H. (forthcoming) 21st century skills and current Nordic educational reforms. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.

Subproject 2: EDSTAND -Educational standardisation of teachers and pupils

Interview study with teachers and students in Norwegian lower secondary schools, interrogating into how students’ roles, expectations to students and the role and purpose of education is conceived by school actors. Interviews conducted in 2020.

Subproject 3: STANDED -Standardisation in Education

International cooperation with 12 colleagues from Greece, Italy, Denmark, Australia, and Switzerland  on a joint volume on standardization in education: “Educational standardization in a complex world”. Expected on EMERALD publishing in 2021.

Introduction to the joint volume:

Modern societies including and their education systems are increasingly occupied with debating, preventing and managing risks that they themselves have produced (Beck, 1992; Douglas & Wildavsky, 1983; Giddens, 1991; Luhmann, 2000). Education policy makers deal with future risks by increasing the standardization of national educational systems, a process supported by global educational policy ideas, quality assurance mechanisms and governing instruments and practices (L. T. Hilt, Riese, & Søreide, 2018; Landri, 2018; Rizvi & Lingard, 2009; Steiner-Khamsi, 2014).

At the same time, an increasingly culturally, linguistically, ethnically, and/or socially diverse student population face both the intended, and unintended consequences of the policy makers’ decisions to standardize. Furthermore, when global educational initiatives encounter, and are translated into, local educational semantics and contexts, diverse and heterogeneous patterns emerge (Ball, 2016; Dale, 1999; L. T. Hilt et al., 2018; Steiner-Khamsi, 2014).

Thus, standardizing work (Higgins and Larner 2010) seemingly co-exists with processes of heterogenization. Standards can thus be regarded as subject to interpretation and thus unpredictable as to their application and effects. The contributions included in this edited volume explore the phenomenon of standards in education through theoretical lenses as well as empirical research, posing questions such as: Why do we think about education through the lenses of standards? What are the assumed conditions underpinning the idea of standards? How have the conceptions of standards changed through history? How do different standards influence educational professionals’ and educational stakeholders’ ways of working ways of working? To what extent do standards matter to educational quality? How standardized are standards when moving across different levels of the educational system and at the level of practice?

Activites in the subproject:

• 2018 ECER, Bolzano (2018-09-03 - 2018-09-07). Paper presentation: Søreide, Gunn Elisabeth; Hilt, Line; Riese, Hanne (2018) Inclusion and exclusion in educational reforms that aim for inclusion: The case of Norway.

• 2019 ECER, Hamburg (02.09.-06.09). Arranging and chairing (Riese) international symposium: "The encounter between homogenization and heterogeneity: Increased standardization in a diverse world?" including 7 paper presentations by researchers from five countries. We also contributed to the symposium with the following two papers:
         • Hilt, L. "Paradoxes of Curriculum Change: Global educational forms in the Norwegian 2020 Reform"
         • Søreide, G. “Public narratives and narrative control in The Norwegian 2020 educational reform”

• STANDED (digital) Workshop, 22. May 2020. Meeting and peer reviewing contributions to the collected volume “Educational standardization in a complex world”

International partners

Name and title




Professor Parlo Singh

Professor in Sociology of Education

Griffiths University, Australia

Educational sociology, curriculum theory

Dr Paolo Landri

Senior Researcher

CNR-IRPPS National Research Council Institute of Research on Population and Social Policies, Roma, Italia

Socio-Material approaches to studies in education, organizational studies, Digitization of education

Dr Stephen Heimans

Senior Lecturer

The University of Queensland, Australia


Professor Anna Tsatsaroni,

Professor in Sociology of Education

University of Peloponnese, Greece

Sociology of educational knowledge, critical policy studies, teacher education, teacher professionalism

Professor Palle Rasmussen

Professor in Education

Department of Learning and Philosophy, University of Aalborg

Educational policy, sociological theory, educational history, education and labour market

Sofia Koutsiouri

PhD Candidate

University of Peloponnese, Greece

Curriculum policies, pedagogical practices, disadvantaged schools and educational inequalities, social inclusion

Aline Nardo


ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Educational theory, philosophy of education

Dr. Annette Rasmussen

Associate professor in Education

Department of Learning and Philosophy, University of Aalborg

Discourse analysis, talent education

Dr. Alice Spada


University of Milan, Italia

Sociological theory, phenomenographic methodology

Dr. Gunn E. Søreide

Associate professor in Education

University of Bergen, Norway

Educational theory, narrative and discourse analysis, teacher and student identity, policy studies in education.

Dr. Line Hilt

Associate professor in Education

University of Bergen, Norway

Educational theory, systems theory, inclusive education

Dr. Astrid Tolo

Associate professor in Education

University of Bergen, Norway

Educational theory, assessment, sociology of knowledge

Dr. Hanne Riese

Associate professor in Education

University of Bergen, Norway

Educational theory, qualitative methodology, policy studies in education