The Differing Purposes and Effects of State-Wide Exit Examinations A Comparison of Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands From a Governance Perspective

The Differing Purposes and Effects of State-Wide Exit Examinations A Comparison of Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands From a Governance Perspective

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The Differing Purposes and Effects of State-Wide Exit Examinations A Comparison of Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands From a Governance Perspective

Most OECD-states have state-wide exit examinations at the end of upper secondary education. By ,regulating work in schools and classrooms, the examinations are supposed to raise school effectiveness. However, due to specific governance structures, the examinations probably serveparticular intentions and therefore have multifarious designs. According to Educational Governance concepts, these diverse designs may cause differing effects on school actors. This project compares the designs and purposes of the state-wide exit exams at the end of upper secondary schooling in Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. The project intends to detect patterns in the examination structures that foster the ability to regulate school actors. A document analysis of official documents is used to elaborate the exam designs as well as the overarching governance structure and strategies to improve the school system. Expert interviews with representatives of the education authorities are used to reconstruct the intentions of the government that are connected with the conduct of state-wide exit examinations. The results show that within the three countries, exams have very different functions which are very much connected with the governance structure and the overall system of quality ,assurance in the country. The functions postulated in the literature can only partially retrieved.

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