On October 15–16, 2015, the first meeting of the Nordic Mathematics Assessment Network was held in Oslo, Norway, as chaired by Professor Astrid Pettersson, University of Stockholm, and Associate Professor Guri A. Nortvedt, University of Oslo. The purpose of the first meeting was to establish a network among those who develop and research mathematics assessments (primarily national tests and exams) in the Nordic countries. The network will serve three purposes:
· To provide knowledge of the other research and development groups and the assessments with which they work;
· To afford opportunities to cooperate with one or more network member(s) about joint research articles or smaller research projects;
· To present opportunities to cooperate with one or more network member(s) in knowledge
building regarding mathematics assessment development.
This network is not a novel idea. A similar network met once a year until 10 years ago, when it was dissolved. Pettersson and Nortvedt were both members of the previous network and decided to establish a new network among test developers and researchers who conduct their research on mathematics assessments in the Nordic countries. The Nordic countries include Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Island, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, what many think of as the Nordic and Baltic countries. A long tradition of cooperation exists among these countries, and although many similarities can be observed between the national educational systems, there is much variation regarding national assessments. The purpose of the network is to explore this variation and learn from each other.
For the first meeting, not all countries were represented; however, altogether, 20 test developers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Greenland met in Oslo. The topic of the first meeting was the oral assessment of mathematics and the digital assessment of mathematical competence. Three keynote addresses, including ‘Oral assessment in mathematics (in Swedish national tests)’ by Samuel Sollerman, Stockholm University, ‘When mathematics assessments become digital’ by Hege Kaarstein, Guri A. Nortvedt and Fazilat Siddiq and ‘Standard setting with judgemental and/or statistical linking – Report from a study of both’ by Anna Panzare Lind, were well received.
In addition to the keynotes, several proposals to present papers were accepted, and presentations ranging from ‘Aspects of teaching of mathematics in Greenland’ to ‘Shifting from paper based to electronic exams in Estonia’ and ‘The Norwegian test program in basic skills in Mathematics across all subjects’ and ‘National tests and assessment according to the knowledge requirements in the Swedish curricula’ inspired much discussion.
The participants were all very pleased to achieve so much activity after only a few months of planning. On the last day of the meeting, it was decided that the network will meet once every 18 months. We hope to have the next meeting early in 2017. The topic of the 2017 meeting will be (mathematical) tasks. Each network meeting will last two working days and comprise keynotes and parallel sessions given by participants after the submission of an abstract. Other representatives from the Nordic countries might join the network and become members. Since the founding meeting, network members have been working towards recruiting members from the remaining Nordic countries.
Why inform members of AEA Europe of this event? In our experience, both with the past network and with the new network, working with our neighbours inspires us in our work, and we can learn much from each other. The educational systems and the mathematics curricula in these countries have strong similarities, and we truly believe this model could also be applied in other regions. We would also be interested in contacting other mathematics networks if such exist.