Dr Astrid Tolo

Astrid Tolo is Associate Professor in Education and Deputy Head of the Department of Education at the University of Bergen, Norway, where she has been working since 2002. She carries out research in education, and also teaches teacher education and school leader education. She also teaches in bachelors and masters courses in the philosophy of education.

Dr Tolo’s work in association with OUCEA started with the study ‘Assessment policy processes in Norway’ which was led by Dr Therese Hopfenbeck (OUCEA). Teresa Florez and Yasmine El Masri (OUCEA) were also part of the team. This OECD-funded research is a case study in the Governing Complex Education Systems project, and explores which different governance mechanisms and knowledge options facilitate effective steering of complex education systems. The Norwegian case study investigated how the educational programme Assessment for Learning – a four-year programme (2010-14) involving more than 400 schools – had been implemented in Norway. Fifty-six qualitative interviews with 100 stakeholders at all levels were conducted in 2012. Preliminary analyses were presented for the Ministry of Education in Norway in March 2013. The report has been published on the OECD website. The collaboration also resulted in a journal article in a Special Issue of Assessment in Education: Principles, policy and practice, Assessment for Learning: Lessons Learned from Large-Scale Evaluations of Implementations. More publications are in progress.


Dr Tolo’s recent research focuses on policy trends and teacher competence development, professionalism and assessment. She defended her doctoral thesis (monography), at the University of Bergen, Norway, in 2011, on the political and theoretical background for the understanding of teacher competence. The thesis also included an empirical study of three PGCE students’ knowledge development. In 2014 she contributed to a systematic review of research on teacher assessment and also edited a book on multicultural education together with Dr Kariane T. Westrheim, at the University of Bergen, and wrote one of the chapters in this book. Theoretically, much of her work is built on the sociology of knowledge.


  • Hopfenbeck, T.N., Florez Petour, M.T. & Tolo, A. (2015) Balancing tensions in educational policy reforms: large-scale implementation of Assessment for Learning in Norway, Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 22 (1), 44-60.
  • Tolo, A. (2014) Utforming av utdanningspolitikk på det flerkulturelle området (Policy development in the multicultural field). In: K.T. Westrheim & A. Tolo (ed.) (2014) Kompetanse for mangfold. Om skolens utfordringer i det flerkulturelle Norge. Bergen, Fagbokforlaget.
  • Westrheim, K.T. & Tolo, A. (ed.) (2014) Kompetanse for mangfold. Om skolens utfordringer i det flerkulturelle Norge. Bergen, Fagbokforlaget.


  • OUCEA Research Associate