Renewing the evaluation of learning outcomes in Finnish/Swedish as national L1s and literature – how and for what purpose?

Submitted by: Merja Kauppinen
Abstract: As there are no national evaluations in the Finnish basic education, it is the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre who collects sample-based information about learning outcomes in different school subjects. The attainments of the most important content areas of mother tongue and literature are assessed every 4th year. The core aim is to ensure educational equity, which concerns especially reading and writing literacy skills. Further the quality of language and literature teaching, and producing knowledge for developing teaching and decision-making on regional and school level are important aims.
The line of comprehensive and developing evaluation has been strengthened lately (cf. Lundgren 2009). For the first time, the evaluation in mother tongue and literature is administered digitally in the spring of 2019, which means new possibilities but also problems to solve. In this paper, the aims and contents of the evaluation are discussed from the point of view of the learning objectives set in the national core curriculum (2014), and the digitalization process of evaluation. The research questions are 1) to what extend can the objectives of mother tongue and literature be assessed by means of a digitally administered test, and 2) what is the added value of the digital system for the evaluation of learning outcomes in mother tongue and literature? The data consists of the documentations of planning and implementing the evaluation process, that are analyzed by means of an evaluation research method (Check & Schutt, 2012). Several critical issues, which have been observed during the analysis will discussed in this paper.
The assessment criteria for each content area (acting in interactive situations, interpreting and producing texts, and understanding language, literature and culture) are stated in the national core curriculum in relation to the teaching objectives (National Core Curriculum 2014). To implement the evaluation of the subject, the objectives had to be modified according to the aims of learning. Further, only part of the objectives could be assessed by means of the digital system. This is a shortcoming as the aim of the evaluation is to measure extensively the achievement of the students at the final phase of the compulsory education.

Keywords: evaluation, learning outcomes, mother tongue and literature


National Core Curriculum for Basic Education 2014. Helsinki: Finnish National Board of Education.
Check, J. & Schutt, R. K. 2012. Evaluation Research. In J. Check & R. K. Schutt (eds.) Research Methods in Education. SAGE.
Lundgren, U. P. 2009. Evaluation and Educational Policymaking. In International Handbook of Educational Evaluation. SAGE.