Master thesis: Acknowledgement of High Ability in Norwegian higher education

Interessant masteroppgave fra 2010:

Acknowledgement of «High Ability» in Norwegian higher education : a qualitative case study of one teacher education program, and one special pedagogy program. – Marit Arnøy Qvam, Master of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education (2010)

Research question:

  • To what extent are the needs of children ̳with high ability‘ acknowledged and focused on in two Norwegian higher education programs- Special Needs Education and Teacher Education?

The combination of a controversial topic and that the topic is treated unclearly in written documents may result in that the definition of tasks and responsibilities that are connected to the highly able children are pushed down to levels lower than the legislative level. In such, the findings of this research indicate that it is unlikely that representatives within education will feel responsibility towards the highly able children. It seems that the consequence of the above give openings for that the safeguarding of meeting the needs of highly able children in the Norwegian educational system is not ensured. 

In a time where quality of education receive extensive attention; one may question how the needs of a group of people within education can be as little addressed as the findings of this research indicate. Sustaining or improving quality of education could and possibly should mean that even the slightest indication of that a group of children is discriminated through education, would lead to that the issue is promptly put on the agenda. It could be questioned whether that the apparent controversy of the topic may result in covering up indications of such discrimination. The fact that there in the Norwegian context is found no research on the highly able children since 1971, is a significant finding in itself and points to that extensive research now is necessary. In such, the field of special pedagogy and general pedagogy should both contribute to putting the highly able children on the agenda through such research. 

In conclusion and within the limitations of this research there are strong indications of that the highly able children are a marginalized group and possibly discriminated group in the Norwegian context. To initiate necessary changes in the understanding of the education quality gap that this may be a result of, concrete and prompt actions are needed. 

See the whole thesis here: