Assessment and research projects
Read more about our on-going assessment and research projects on this page.

Assessment tool for disciplinary literacy in preparatory instruction (Valu)

This project develops a literacy assessment tool targeted at pupils in preparatory instruction in grades 3, and 7 of basic education. The assessment tool, known as Valu, includes general and discipline-specific assignments, drawn up on the basis of research knowledge, that measure multiliteracy. Valu will be web-based and multimodal. Its purpose is to produce information on pupils' Finnish language and literacy skills in different disciplines and indicate their support needs. The project also includes research investigating the kinds of language and literacy skills learned in preparatory instruction. Valu can also be used to assess other pupils in addition to those in preparatory instruction or learning Finnish as a second language. The information it produces on pupil multiliteracies is needed in practical teaching and in organising support for learning. Valu also makes visible the diversity of texts and literacies in different disciplines. 

The project is being carried out by the University of Helsinki’s Centre for Educational Assessment in collaboration with the Education Division of the City of Helsinki. The project is receiving funding from the Finnish National Agency for Education in the form of an operating grant awarded to the Lukuliike literacy programme. 

Learning grouping and optionality: A follow-up study on weighted-curriculum paths in the City of Kerava

This project examines the new pupil grouping introduced in the City of Kerava in relation to the learning, motivation, wellbeing and school-related experiences of lower secondary school pupils as well as the educational choices of guardians. The goal is to investigate how pupil groupings, especially emphasized learning paths affect development of pupils’ skills, wellbeing and experiences as well as the views of guardians in the Finnish urban environment of the 2020s. The research project comprises three work packages where survey, interview and registry data are utilised to determine the following: 1) Are there differences in the learning, wellbeing and motivation of lower secondary school pupils A) between pupils on different emphasized learning paths and B) between pupils’ learning in accordance with the redesign and pupils adhering to the old model? 2) How are the educational choices of adolescents constructed in comprehensive school and how do guardians perceive the emphasized learning paths in relation to one another? 3) What kinds of experiences do adolescents have of different ways of grouping affecting their everyday school life? 

Effects of absences in basic education and the related support provided on school attendance

This project surveys the effects of absences on the learning and wellbeing of Finnish pupils. The focus is on measures taken in schools and on examining their effects on preventing pupils’ absences and breaking cycles of absences (so-called problematic absences). Another focus area is how various multiprofessional measures, such as pedagogical learning documents, applied grants and decisions, the support provided and its receipt, have helped pupils with problematic absences and their families in supporting the pupils’ school work in challenging circumstances. In addition, the aim is to examine various practices related to recording absences (e.g., problematic absences) and the connection between such entries, and learning and school work, as well as to identify well-functioning practices that support school work in spite of absences.

The project is being carried out by the University of Jyväskylä (PI Kati Vasalampi) and the University of Helsinki (PI Risto Hotulainen), with one researcher from the University of Turku (Sanna Oinas). The project is receiving funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Student admissions reform through the eyes of general upper secondary schools and their students (UUSVALU)

From the start, the reform of student admissions for Finnish universities and higher education institutions in 2018 has elicited considerable public criticism and discussion. The reform was based on the objective of accelerating the transition of adolescents from general upper secondary school to higher education, as well as strengthening the status of the matriculation examination as the endpoint of general education for adolescents. However, the reform was carried out mostly without consulting general upper secondary schools, which may be one reason for the critical reception alongside the emphasis on the advanced syllabus in mathematics in general upper secondary school. The reform, which was perceived to have been imposed from above, also appears to have obscured the many deficiencies of the previous admissions based on entrance examinations.

The project delves into the effects of the reform specifically from the perspective of general upper secondary schools and their students. The principal research question is how the admissions reform has affected students’ choice of courses and subject-specific tests completed in the matriculation examination as well as their wellbeing and future plans. At the same time, the aim is to determine how general upper secondary school teachers as well as guidance counsellors in general upper secondary school and basic education perceive the impact of the reform on adolescents’ choice of general upper secondary school and on their progress in studies at this level. The project also assesses, in light of research literature, the nature of the Finnish matriculation examination as part of the establishment of educational career paths in relation to corresponding qualifications in other Western countries.

For the benefit of education policy decision-making, the project aims to provide up-to-date information on the effects of the student admissions reform of 2018 on general upper secondary school students’ study progress, course choices and matriculation examination test choices, as well as their wellbeing and their future plans. In addition, the research will provide information on the views of general upper secondary school teachers, guidance counsellors and principals on the reform and its impact on the quality and scope of the education provided, as well as on student wellbeing and potential burnout on the other. In addition to these, the prior research collected in connection with the project will provide comparable information on the nature of the final examinations in upper secondary education in Finland and other countries as well as their impact on and utilisation in the student admissions for higher education.

The project is receiving funding from the Finnish government.

Co-crea­ting inclusi­ve school com­mu­ni­ties

The aim of the project is to support schools in strengthening inclusive school communities in which every participant is welcomed, respected, valued and given a voice, and that embrace and appreciate diversity. To support schools in this development towards inclusive school communities, a toolbox is developed during the project. The toolbox is aimed to actors within the school to strengthen their awareness and understanding regarding inclusive school communities, to support in the evaluation of the inclusiveness of their school community, and to further help them to identify, select and implement possible next steps for action.

Co-creating inclusive school communities is an Erasmus+ Cooperation partnerships in school education project, worked in collaboration with the following organisations: Regierung des Furstentums Liechtenstein, Tallinna Ülikool, Helsingin yliopisto, Universitatea din Bucuresti, University of British Columbia, Stichting Hogeschool van Amsterdam and Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich.


The DigiVOO research project, a consortium formed by Tampere University and the University of Helsinki, investigates the impact of digitalisation on learning, learning situations and learning outcomes of lower secondary school students. The research is implemented as an evaluation by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

In order to assess the effects of digitalisation, the data collected by the Centre for Educational Assessment CEA since 2001 will be combined with the new data and the results will be compared with the national data. In addition, log data are also analysed and students are interviewed.

To find out more about the project, visit Research Group for Education, Assessment and Learning website.

  • Contact person: postdoctoral researcher Sanna Oinas
  • Duration of the project: 1/2021‒12/2022
Na­tional Net­work for De­vel­op­ing As­sess­ment Lit­er­acy KAARO

The KAARO network gathers together national and international research information that various universities have produced on assessment literacy and its development. It also clarifies the objectives and content of strength-based assessment literacy. The network provides MOOCs and online material, assessment training and seminars to students completing their pedagogical teacher-education studies (pre-primary, basic and general upper secondary education), teacher trainers, teachers exercising their profession and researchers.

The KAARO network is a development project in teacher education supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The project involves the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Lapland, the University of Oulu and Åbo Akademi University. We also cooperate with other projects, networks and universities.

School­ing, teach­ing and well-be­ing of school com­munity dur­ing the COVID-19 epi­demic in Fin­land

The nationwide study examines how the COVID-19 situation has affected children's education, the work of all those involved in school-related activities and the well-being of families. The aims of the study are to provide an overall picture of the impact of exceptional circumstances on school attendance and to collect information in preparation for the next school year.

Data were collected in May through electronic surveys that were distributed to the rectors of all Finnish basic education schools, teachers, members of student welfare services and other people working with students in the schools, 4th to 10th grade students and parents or guardians of the 1st to 10th grade students. The school situation will continue to be monitored during the 2020‒2021 school year.

The study is carried out in collaboration with the Research Group for Education, Assessment and Learning (REAL, Tampere University), the Research Group on Children’s and Adolescents’ Health Promotion (NEDIS, Tampere University) and the Centre for Educational Assessment (CEA, University of Helsinki). The research is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The Cultural, World­view and Language Aware­ness in Ba­sic Education pro­ject (KU­PERA)

The Cultural, Worldview and Language Awareness in Basic Education project (KUPERA), funded by the Finnish National Board of Education, includes three sub-projects that each have their own goals.

The assessment and research subproject investigates cultural, worldview and language awareness in the learning and assessment material used in various school subjects, and conducts a survey of related views held by school teachers and head teachers. The project will produce research-based instructions to subject teachers and the producers of learning material to enable them to take cultural, worldview and language awareness into account in different school subjects. The project is carried out cooperatively by the University of Helsinki Centre for Educational Assessment CEA and other research groups at the Faculty of Educational Sciences.

The sub-project focusing on learning material produces learning material for the promotion of cultural, worldview and linguistic awareness in education as well as for the additional and continuing education of teachers. The material produced will be available openly and free of charge. The KUPERA project is carried out cooperatively with the Forum for Culture and Religion FOKUS and the steering committee of the UNESCO Chair professorship held by Arto Kallioniemi.

The sub-project on in-service training produces web and contact courses for primary school teachers and other educational staff interested in the subject.

Pre­pared­ness to learn

CEA has developed a computer-based adaptive (adaptive to the student's skill level) test of learning preparedness to support the discretionary application process in vocational education. The aim of the test is to offer the applicant a possibility to show her/his preparedness to learn in situations in which the diploma of the comprehensive school is missing or is not comparable. The adaptive test of preparedness has been in use since 2016.


CEA is  taking part in implementing the OECD’s international PISA-research in Finland with the Finnish Institute for Educational Research in the University of Jyväskylä.