– It becomes very unfair when not everyone gets the same opportunities, says Alma Fagerland (19).
She sat in the body with all the graduating students in the country ready on Monday morning to take the exam. When the clock struck nine, the online system where students were supposed to complete their assignments failed.
Due to the pandemic, the Norwegian exam on Monday was her first exam.
– It was not very fun that the first exam should start like that. It is also very unfair that there is such a big difference from school to school in how it was solved, she says.
Fagerland reacts to the fact that students at other schools were given assignments on paper, while they sat and waited for the system to work again.
– When we go out to fight for study places, we have to compete with people who have a completely different foundation to us.
– Exhausting to wait
Fagervold also reacts to the fact that students in Møre and Romsdal had their exams cancelled, while the rest of the country has not yet received this.
The 19-year-old therefore believes that this year’s Norwegian exam should be canceled and struck out.
Frida Irgens (19) attends Sandsli secondary school in Bergen. There, some of the classes got access to the text appendices well in advance of others.
– In my class, the teacher had printed out the text appendices, so then we had the advantage of sitting and reading for an extra hour, she says.
Igrens thinks that the clear advantage she and others in the class got is very unfair compared to other rivers. At the same time, she emphasizes that it was a heavy burden to wait so long before they could start writing.
– Waiting for over an hour is very frustrating, tiring and exhausting. That this exam should now be assessed equally for everyone seems to me to be very wrong.
She also believes that if the exam is canceled for some, then it must be canceled for everyone.
Morten Anstorp Rosenkvist, Director of the Directorate of Education understands the frustration.
– There are several considerations to take into account. A large group of students have taken a fairly ordinary exam, and then there are quite a few students who believe they have been given worse conditions. We have to take both into account.
– So some exams can be cancelled, while others get to keep their grade?
– That could be a possible solution. Is there a solution that will take care of everyone well enough, or do we have to go in with tailoring? These are things we consider, he says.
Defends printing despite ban
The principal at Kuben upper secondary school, Kjell Ove Hauge, confirms that they were one of the schools that handed out the exam paper on paper.
NRK has spoken to several of the upper secondary schools in Oslo.
Since the Norwegian exam was to take place digitally, the schools had been told not to print out the exam papers on paper in advance.
Hauge still believed that printing out the assignment so the students could start writing was the right thing to do.
– This is the principal’s decision. The exam is a very important day for students. It is my job to facilitate that they get the best possible implementation of this, says Hauge.
Siv Børven Moberg, principal at Persbråten upper secondary school in Oslo, thinks the whole situation is terribly difficult and understands that many of his students think this is unfair.
– We did the best we could. We had been told in advance that we weren’t allowed to print the assignment, and of course we hadn’t done that since we weren’t supposed to, she says.
– Acted intuitively
Principal Torill Røeggen at Ullern VGS says that the chaos that occurred on Monday resulted in her acting intuitively.
– We had been told not to print, but when things were as they were, we thought “poor students”. Then we started printing, says Røeggen.
Kjell Ove Hauge, the headmaster at Kuben, says that the copier almost ran hot on Monday morning.
– Isn’t it unfair that some are given the tasks on a piece of paper, while others have to sit and wait for a long time?
– It is not up to me to judge. In that case, it must be raised at directorate level, he says.
– Goes into the question of justice
The Norwegian Directorate of Education tells NRK that they too have learned different practices.
– I don’t have the full overview, but we see that it has happened differently at different schools. Our recommendation before the exam ended was not to take printouts. The reason for that is that this exam was fully digital, and not suitable as a PDF, says director of education Rosenkvist.
– But it has happened, what do you think about the fact that it creates big differences between the schools?
– It goes into the question of justice, so that is one of the things we are looking at.
– In retrospect, was it the right advice to give?
– We should have had better back-up solutions. What we have done now, for the next exams, is to make script-based versions available, but it depends a little on the subject. It is not always possible, for example in a subject such as English, where much is oral.
On Tuesday, Udir sent the Ministry of Education an account of the exam chaos.
In the report, it appears that the directorate believes it is “necessary to reintroduce the printing and distribution of exams as a risk-reducing measure for the upcoming exam period”.
Udir also writes that the state administrators must follow up with any cancellation applications if the schools have not given the pupils the opportunity to spend five hours on the exam.
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