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Student Equity vs Test Equality?: support during third graders' national tests in mathematics in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). (Umeå Forskningscentrum för matematikdidaktik (UFM))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7182-5649
2016 (English)In: Cursiv [publisher: Institut for Didaktik, Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitetsskole, Aarhus Universitet, DK], ISSN 1901-8878, E-ISSN 1901-8886, no 18, 123-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article throws light on the educational practice of teachers providing additional support to students during tests, more specifically during the national tests in mathematics for third graders in Sweden (hereafter called Ntm3) for the years 2010 and 2011. Both the test instructions and teacher talk related to these tests were taken into consideration. The results suggest that issues of equity and teachers’ agency arise when considering support. The dual purpose of the test, to evaluate the student and to evaluate the education, positions the teacher as both a test-giver and a test-taker and influences the discourse on support by ambiguity. I found that in such circumstances, when students´ equity comes into conflict with the test´s equality, the focus during the tests shifts from attention to learning to attention to controlling.

Abstract [sv]

Denna artikel studerar förutsättningarna för det stöd som kan ges till elever i samband med det nationella provet i matematik i det tredje skolåret (härefter kallat Ntm3), i Sverige under 2010 och 2011. Den stöddiskurs som aktiveras i samband med proven har avgränsats genom att provets instruktioner samt åtta intervjuer med lärare har analyserats. Resultaten indikerar att provet leder till att provdeltagarnas fokus förskjuts från lärande till kontroll och att provets dubbla syften positionerar läraren som både testtagare och testgivare. Detta visar sig som en ambivalens i stöddiskursen och leder till ett pedagogiskt dilemma i situationer där provets likvärdighet sätts mot elevens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Köpenhamn: Aarhus University , 2016. no 18, 123-139 p.
Keyword [en]
National tests, mathematics, special needs, discourse, support, multilingual pupils, third grade, teacher talk
Keyword [sv]
nationella prov, matematik, tredje klass, särskilda behov, särskilt stöd
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
educational work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93358OAI: diva2:748054
The Nordic Research network on Special Needs Education in Mathematics (NORSMA 7, Kopenhagen.
Vad gör testandet med eleverna? En studie kring nationella prov i matematik

ISBN 978-87-7684-722-7

Originally published in thesis in manuscript form with the title: Pupil’s equity vs the test’s equality? Support during third graders National tests in Mathematics in Sweden.

Available from: 2014-09-18 Created: 2014-09-18 Last updated: 2016-04-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Prövningen av en skola för alla: nationella provet i matematik i det tredje skolåret
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Prövningen av en skola för alla: nationella provet i matematik i det tredje skolåret
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Is school for everyone? : the national test in mathematics at Grade three in Sweden
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents the contribution to research that my doctoral education led to. My starting point was a large scale qualitative research project (here after called the VR-project) which reviewed the implementation of national tests in the third grade on the subject of mathematics. The VR-project investigated how the test affected the pupils with a special focus on pupils in need of special support. An urge to look further into issues concerning the support, the pupil in need and the test was revealed in he initial VR-project. These issues therefore constitutes the problem area of this thesis. The VR-project studied a total of 22 classrooms in two different municipalities' during 2010- 2012. The methodology used for this project was inspired by ethnography and discourse analysis. The raw data consisted of test instructions, video observations of the actual test subjects, interviews from teachers and pupils about the test, the support that was given throughout the testing as well as the observations and interviews of the pupils requiring special assistance. Activated discourses and positions of the participants were demarcated. The results revealed that a traditional testing discourse, a caring discourse and a competitive discourse are activated during the tests. The testing discourse is stable and traditional. Much of what was shown and said in classrooms, routines and rules regarding the test were repeated in all the schools and in all the classrooms. The discourse on support is affected by ambiguity, which is revealed especially when issues of pupils’ equity is put against the tests equality. This is connected to the teachers restricted agency to give support due to the teacher position as a test taker. The positions in need that are available to students are not the same in pupils, teachers and steering documents. The situation is especially troublesome for pupils that do not manage Swedish good enough to take the test and for pupils in need of special support. Some of the conclusions from this thesis is that the national test format: Disciplines not only the pupil, but also the teacher, the classroom and the school at large. Results indicate that the test:

Activates a focus on achievementLeads attention away from learning Activates issues of accountability Influences pupils and teachers with stakes involved

Besides evaluating knowledge, the test disciplines not only the pupil, but also the teacher, the classroom and the school at large. Discussing the national test as an arena for equity might be a way towards attaining equality in education for all pupils.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2015. 114 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 63
National test, Mathematics, Third grade, Special needs, Special support, Student in need of support, Discourse, Pupil, Teacher, nationella prov, matematik, test, i behov av stöd, tredje skolåret, stöd
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
educational work
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-109174 (URN)9789176013144 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-16, Naturvetarhuset, N320, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Nationella prov i matematik – vad gör testandet med eleverna?
Available from: 2015-09-25 Created: 2015-09-21 Last updated: 2015-09-24Bibliographically approved

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Bagger, Anette
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