PLAC: Professional Learning in Assessment Communities

Research – Department of Teacher Education

PLAC: Professional Learning in Assessment Communities

The Professional Learning in Assessment Communities (PLAC) research group investigates the nature of assessment communities in schools and contributes to practitioners' professional learning and development. By evaluating policy issues and critically engaging with questions of assessment practices and data use in education, participants seek to understand how assessment communities are established, maintained, and further professionalized. Understanding and improving capacity building for professional learning is a key objective. The research group regularly collaborates with researchers across the globe, including research networks such as EARLI SIG 1 Assessment and Evaluation and AERA Division H: Research, Evaluation, & Assessment in Schools

Current activities

The research group is currently engaged with several projects:

  • SKUF (information only in Norwegian): School development and teachers' professional learning require collaboration across disciplinary subjects and institutions involved in education. The research group SKUF (School University as Frontiers) aims to explore models for school development where schools and universities collaborate. What significance does this collaboration between school and university have for teachers 'and leaders' professional development and how this is expressed in the teaching of students in schools?
  • Assessment during Covid-19 (PDF): During the schools’ lock-down spring 2020, the conditions for teaching, learning and assessment changed. In Norway, schools were closed, and all school activities took place online. Moreover, all final exams were cancelled in upper secondary schools. The purpose of the research project is to understand how pupils, teachers and school leaders have experienced the home school's assessment and teaching methods.
  • SKUV, a project involving 20 upper secondary schools in Norway aiming to strengthen teacher assessment literacy, particularly in vocational education and learning (VET). (Lise Vikan Sandvik)
  • PLUSS: Aim is to create professional learning partnerships between school-based mentors and university teachers, where mentors and university teachers share a common understanding of the teacher education curriculum, and share information about teacher student learning as a starting point for researching and developing teaching practices for teacher students (Alex Strømme)
  • HeadsUp: Heads Using Professional Learning Communities (ERASMUS+) HeadsUP introduces professional learning communities (PLCs) for the development of heads and the improvement of their leadership skills, in order to support teachers in developing their own practice within learning groups. The manual. (Anne Berit Emstad)
  • Going Gradeless: Going gradeless in upper secondary school. Exploring how reduced grading affects communities in Norway. Funded by the Research Council of Norway. (Henning Fjørtoft)
  • MUVO: Middle management in development work in upper secondary education. (Anne Berit Emstad)
  • RECITE: Research Sirculation in Teacher Education (ERASMUS+). The aim of RECITE is to highlight a range of responsible practices in the production and circulation of research within teacher education and to create effective strategies for research governance, which can be adopted in the partner organizations and beyond. (Lise Vikan Sandvik)

Selected publications

Leonardsen, J. K., Utvær, B. K. S., & Fjørtoft, H. (2022). The Five Faces of an Assessor: Conceptualizing the Enactment of Teacher Assessment Identity in Vocational Education and Training. Educational Assessment, 27(4), 339–355.

Lai, M. K., & Fjørtoft, H. (2022). Problematizing and understanding contexts in educational research: An international perspective. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 74, 101185.

Leonardsen, J., & Fjørtoft, H. (2021). Assessment Policies in VET. Wicked Problems and Conflicting Expectations. Scandinavian Journal of Vocations in Development, 6(1).

Fjørtoft, H., & Lai, M. K. (2020). Affordances of narrative and numerical data: A social-semiotic approach to data use. Studies in Educational Evaluation.

Sandvik, L. V. & Fjørtoft, H. (2022) Skoleutvikling i videregående opplæring. Fagbokforlaget. 

Fjørtoft, H. & Sandvik, L. V. (2021) Leveraging situated strategies in research–practice partnerships: Participatory dialogue in a Norwegian school. Studies in Educational Evaluation. vol. 70.

Fjørtoft, H. & Morud, E. B. (2021) Assessment decision-making in vocational education and training. Studia Paedagogica. vol. 26 (4).

Sandvik, L. V., Smith, K., Strømme, A.,  Svendsen, B., Sommervold, O. Aa. & Angvik, S. Aa. (2021) Students’ perceptions of assessment practices in upper secondary school during COVID-19. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice.

Sandvik, L. V. &  Sommervold O. Aa. (2021) Perceptions of Involvement in the Assessment of Oral Competence in English as a Second Language. Languages. vol. 6 (4).

Burner, T. & Svendsen, B. (2020) A Vygotskian Perspective on Teacher Professional Development. Education. vol. 141 (1).

Postholm, M. B. (2020) The importance of the start-up phase in school-based development for learning and enduring change. European Journal of Teacher Education.

Fjørtoft, H. (2020) Multimodal Digital Classroom Assessments. Computers & Education

Fjørtoft, H. & Lai, M. K. (2020) Affordances of narrative and numerical data: A social-semiotic approach to data use. Studies in Educational Evaluation. 

Unstad, L., Jørgensen, Stabel, C. & Fjørtoft, H. (2020) Lesing og skriving i religions-og livssynsfaget i den norske grunnskolen. En kartlegging av forskningsfeltet 2005-2018. Nordidactica.

Unstad, L. & Fjørtoft, H.. (2020). Disciplinary literacy in religious education: the role and relevance of reading. British Journal of Religious Education

Faglig råd for lærerutdanning (2020). Partnerskap i lærerutdanningene – et kunnskapsgrunnlag. Delrapport 1. Oslo: Kunnskapsdepartementet

Morud, E. B., Engvik, G. (2019) Skolebasert videreutdanning for praksislærere Utvikling i praksisveiledningen og i skolehverdagen gjennom bruk av «Lesson Study»? En case fra praksislærerutdanningen ved én av NTNUs universitetsskoler. Paideia. 38-49.

Sandvik, L. V. & Emstad, A. B (2019). Realizing data-driven changes and teacher agency in upper secondary schools through formative interventions. I: Postholm, M.-B. & Vennebo, K. (red). Applying cultural historical activity theory in educational settings. London: Routledge. 91-107.


Members of research group

External member

External member