Research Group for Studies in Education Policy and Education Practice - SEPP

Teacher and pupils in the classroom.

SEPP conducts research on a broad set of topics in educational science and is particularly concerned with the intersection between policy and practice throughout the whole educational process, across different layers of governance.

Our research

Good education is the key to many challenges in society. Studying the interaction between educational policy and educational practice is important because the educational sector is changing significantly both internationally, nationally, and regionally in response to challenges in society.

In SEPP, we therefore study governance, leadership, and organization across the entire field of educational science from international to national authorities, regional and municipal levels, as well as activities carried on by school, school leaders and teachers. Studies of higher education and its interrelationship and cooperation with public and private enterprises are central. Whether and how educational policy guidelines reach and influence actors in the field of educational science is a particular focus of the group.

How we conduct our research

The field of educational science is complex and demands sophisticated research methods and theoretical perspectives. The research group works routinely on a cross- and multidisciplinary basis and frequently adopts an eclectic theoretical and methodological approach, rooted in a variety of different fields and disciplines. The group is made up of members from the USN Faculty of Humanities, Sports, and Educational Science (HIU), the USN School of Business (HH), as well as research partners from Norway and overseas. SEPP also offers an extensive and active network for use by its PhD students.

Research disciplines

Pedagogics, political sciences, history, sociology, organizational sciences, economics, law and digital technology.


CLASS – Comparisons of Leadership Autonomy in School Districts and Schools

A research project funded by the Research Council of Norway for the period 2021 to 2025 investigating head teachers’ autonomy in municipalities and schools in the fields of student assessment, inclusion and pandemic management. The project has an international dimension, involving comparisons of head teachers’ autonomy in Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Theme-based, cross-disciplinary teaching in upper secondary schools

Funded by ‘USN-profesjon’ (an internal professional development network) for the period 2022 to 2023. A collaboration project with the Thor Heyerdahl upper secondary school in Larvik (which has a teacher education collaboration agreement with USN).

Oral examination in Norwegian in lower and upper secondary schools

A PhD project linked to the research project ‘Conversation Analytic innovation for Teacher Education’ (CAiTE), which is funded by the Research Council of Norway.  

Teacher involvement in national curriculum development: The case of democracy and citizenship in the LK20.

A PhD project looking into teacher participation in the development of national curricula, using the cross-disciplinary theme ‘democracy and citizenship in English language studies’ as a case study. The project is part of the Learning Outcome across Policy and Practice (LOaPP) project funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Legitimising and steering private schools in Norway: An analysis of policy actors and policy instruments

A PhD project looking into the development of private schools and school practice in Norway. The project is investigating how private schools policy is legitimised and how teachers and head teachers, in a variety of educational contexts, interpret steering documents such as syllabuses, curricula, knowledge objectives, etc. as part of their planning and student assessment.

School culture in education policy and classroom practice

A PhD project investigating the interface between education policy and classroom practice. The study involves the qualitative analyses of policy documents and ethnographic data taken from teachers and pupils in lower secondary schools. The project is part of the Learning Outcome across Policy and Practice (LOaPP) project funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Leadership autonomy in a School for All – analysis of German and Norwegian school principals’ autonomy

A PhD project looking into head teachers’ autonomy in connection with the introduction of inclusive school environments. The investigation is being carried out using an analysis of steering documents, head teacher’s professional periodicals and interviews carried out in Germany and Norway. The project is part of the research project Comparisons of Leadership Autonomy in School Districts and Schools (CLASS), funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Leadership autonomy and assessment: Decision-making, control and risk in Norwegian and Swedish local education authorities and schools

A PhD project involving a qualitative and comparative investigation of head teachers’ autonomy linked to different student assessment approaches employed in Norway and Sweden. The project involves a study of autonomy at several management levels, with a focus on the interplay between schools and the local education authorities. The project is part of the research project Comparisons of Leadership Autonomy in School Districts and Schools (CLASS), funded by the Research Council of Norway.   

Management of student assessment practice in a professional community; skills development and research linked to head teachers’ work with student assessment in upper secondary education.

Funded by ‘USN-profesjon’ (an internal professional development network) for the period 2022 to 2023. A collaboration project with Drammen and Lier upper secondary schools (which have teacher education collaboration agreements with USN). 

Policy Capacity of Interest Groups (POLCAP)

This project focuses on interest groups representing professions, users and providers of education services in Norway, and compares them to their counterparts in a similar education system (Finland) and in a contrasting one (Germany).

Policy Capacity of Interest Groups (POLCAP)

  • Project Manager: Martina Vucasovic (Universitetet i Bergen) 
  • Contact at USN: Tine S. Prøitz og Tiril Finnanger
Escape games in secondary education

The PhD project investigates the potential of the working method “escape games” in secondary schools. The project uses students, pupils, and teachers as informants.

Rethinking Physical Education for the Future. A comparative study of transnational development of bodily learning dimensions. 

The project is an international collaboration between Norway, Japan and South-Korea about the development of Physical Education, particularly investigating dimensions to bodily learning. 


PARTiciPED is an NRC FINNUT financed project focusing on the cross-sectoral collaboration between teacher training, schools, and the Cultural Schoolbag. Jorunn Spord Borgen leads the research team WP5b at USN/WNUAS. 


  • Project Manager: Kristine Høeg Karlsen (Høgskolen i Østfold)
  • Contact at USN: Jorunn Spord Borgen
RE-POSE - Renewed perspectives on research use in education

RE-POSE is an NRC-financed research project (2020-2024) about the use of research in the field of Education.


Trailing research in LUPE, professional qualification in collaboration with practice. 

Trailing research- new five-year teacher training in the practical and aesthetical subjects (LUPE-Physical Education).

Evaluation of the Practical and Aesthetical subjects in LK20 (EVAPE25)

The evaluation project addresses how Fagfornyelsen is realized in practice through planning and executing teaching in practical and aesthetical subjects. The project is assigned by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.




Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar  

Once a year, the research group is organizing the Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar located in the beautiful Åsgårdstrand, Norway. This two day international working seminar is a combination of thematic key notes, lectures, presentations of ongoing and already finished projects, and professional exchange.


The following lists presents an overview over the last working seminars:

Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar 2023 (30th – 31st August) 

  • «Education policy and education practice- the nexus between stability and change» 
  • Keynotes: Christian Ydesen, Elisabet Nihlfors, Michael Apple and Petter Aasen 
  •  Mini-lectures: Gro-Anita Myklevold, Josefine Jahreie, Petra Røise, Galina Shavard 


Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar 2022 (25th – 26th August) 

  • «The meaning of context in the nexus between education policy and education practice» 
  • Keynotes: Henrik Román, Anne Homme, Barbara Schulte 
  • Mini-lectures: Ana Lucia da Silva, Arnhild Bie-Drivdal, Siri Wieberg Klausen, Frode Restad 


Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar 2020 (26th – 27th November, online) 

  • «Collaboration and partnership in education» 
  •  Keynotes: Jorunn Spord Borgen, Paul Adams, Michael W. Apple 


Åsgårdstrand Working Seminar 2019 (14th -15th October) 

  • «Research in the Education policy and Education Practice nexus» - TEPEE Working Seminar (starting point in the research project LOaPP (2016-2020)) 
  • Keynotes: Lyn Yates, Eva Forsberg, Ola Erstad 
  • Mini-lectures: Berit Karseth and Wieland Wermke 


Åsgårdstrandseminaret 2018 (21st – 22nd November) 

  • «Educational Research between policy, practice and profession» - TEPEE Working Seminar  
  • Keynotes: Wieland Wermke, Petter Aasen and Steinar Bøyum  
  • Mini-lectures: Sølvi Mausethagen and Tine S. Prøitz  

Bilde fra Aasgaardstrand-seminar