5.1 National tests

Sources of information about learning outcomes

A number of sources provide information about learning outcomes. The most important are national tests, exam results, coursework grades and international studies.

National tests are a measure of how well primary and lower secondary pupils perform in reading, numeracy and English.

Exam results and coursework grades are a reflection of the pupils’ attainment level upon completing a course of study.

National tests and international surveys also measure whether the pupils’ skills change over time. International surveys can be used to compare results with other countries.

Oslo and Akershus perform better than the national average in all tests

There are only minor regional differences in test results. With a few exceptions, pupils in all counties perform close to the national average of 50 score points in all the national tests.

Girls outperform boys in reading

Girls do better than boys in the national reading tests in both Year 5 and Year 8 (see Figure 5.1 and Figure 5.2). As for the other tests, there is more variation between the levels. In Year 5, girls score on average two points more than boys in the reading test, while boys score one point more than girls in the English test.

In Year 8, girls score an average of two points more than boys in reading, while boys score one point more than girls in numeracy. Boys and girls perform equally well in English (see Figure 5.3).

Figure 5.1 Results of national Year 5 tests by proficiency level and county. 2015–16. Per cent and average score points.

figure-5-1-results-of-national-year-5-tests-by-proficiency-level-and-county-2015-16-per-cent-and-average-score-points

Source: Directorate for Education and Training (Skoleporten)

Figure 5.2 Results of national Year 8 reading tests by proficiency level and county. 2015–16. Per cent and average score points.

figure-5-2-results-of-national-year-8-reading-tests-by-proficiency-level-and-county-2015-16-per-cent-and-average-score-points

Source: Directorate for Education and Training (Skoleporten)

Figure 5.3 Results of national tests Year 8 by proficiency level and gender. 2015–16. Per cent.

Source: Directorate for Education and Training (Skoleporten)

National tests

The purpose of national tests is to evaluate and improve pupils’ basic skills in reading, numeracy and English. Teachers should use the results to support their pupils, to provide formative assessments, and to give their pupils adapted education. School leaders and local authorities should use the results to make improvements in quality. Pupils take the National tests in Years 5, 8 and 9. The results are published on a scale on which the 2014-15 average was set to 50 score points and with a standard deviation of 10. We also publish the distribution of pupils across different proficiency levels. There are three proficiency levels in Year 5 and five levels in Years 8 and 9. The thresholds for the different levels in English and numeracy were set in 2014-15. With these tests, it is therefore possible to observe any changes in the percentage of pupils at each level from year to year. This will also be possible for the reading test from 2017-18.