Project archive

Here you can find out more about projects completed by the Centre of Educational Assessment CEA.

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 delved into the effects of the reform specifically from the perspective of general upper secondary schools and their students. The principal research question was 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 was 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 assessed, 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 provided 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 provided 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 received funding from the Finnish government.

Leadership in early childhood, pre-primary and basic education 2023: Development plan and training module for leadership in early childhood, pre-primary and basic education

The project comprised two stages. In stage 1, a development plan for leadership extending to 2035 was drawn up. In stage 2, a national training module and curriculum was established for leadership in early childhood, pre-primary and basic education.

The training module and curriculum combine a degree certificate in educational administration awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education and leadership studies completed at university in such a way that they can in the future be used as studies providing the qualifications for leaders involved in basic education and early childhood education (e.g., school principals, daycare centre directors). In addition, a proposal on the funding model and a potential need for legislative amendments will be drawn up. The training module and its curriculum will be drawn up in such a way that they are nationally applicable in the universities offering teacher training as part of an undergraduate degree and continuing education.

Further information is available on the website of the Leadership in Educational Contexts (LeadEd) research group (in Finnish only).

  • Project duration: 13 September 2021–31 January 2023
  • Contact person: Lauri Heikonen, Postdoctoral Researcher,

Report on the views of education providers on support arrangements in municipalities

The aim of the study was to survey the practices used in municipalities and the principles guiding them when organising and implementing support for learning and school attendance. The study was commissioned by a working group set up by the Ministry of Education and Culture under the Right to Learn programme to prepare measures to promote support for learning, support for children and inclusion in early childhood education and care, pre-primary education, and primary and lower secondary education.

The key questions tackled by the working group were: 1) How should the interface between intensified and special needs support be determined? 2) What are the needs for support for learning and school attendance for which general, intensified or special needs support is offered to students? and 3) What concrete forms of support are included at the different levels of support?

Contact persons: Meri Lintuvuori, PhD (Education), Postdoctoral Researcher, and Irene Rämä, PhD (Education), Postdoctoral Researcher,


The DigiVOO research project, a consortium formed by Tampere University and the University of Helsinki, investigated the impact of digitalisation on learning, learning situations and learning outcomes of lower secondary school students. The research was 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 was combined with the new data and the results were be compared with the national data. In addition, log data were also analysed and students were interviewed.

  • Duration of the project: 1/2021‒12/2022

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.

#newschool project (#uuttakoulua)

The #newschool project was part of the New Comprehensive Education programme. The programme's aim was to support student-centeredness of comprehensive schools, increase teachers’ skills, and strengthen open and community-oriented school culture. As part of the #newschool project in 16 municipalities, process training was organised for the leadership teams of schools in the area in order to develop interactive school culture and leadership. University of Helsinki Centre for Educational Assessment participated in the #newschool project by producing research-based knowledge to support the development of leadership-team work. The research mapped the leadership structures of comprehensive schools participating in the project. The research focused particularly on examining leadership teams and interaction between leadership teams and school communities.

Powerhouse of Guidance (Vetovoimala)

In the project Powerhouse of Guidance (Vetovoimala), the usability of two different assessment tools for measuring students’ functional capacity was investigated together with Luovi Vocational College, Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting as well as Helsinki Vocational College. A nationwide operating model was developed for transitions from the upper comprehensive school to upper secondary level for students who need special education or intensified special. The project was executed years 2018–2020.

Follow-up report on arrangements for support for learning and school attendance and their regional differences

The goal of the follow-up report was to examine regional differences in arrangements for support for learning and school attendance. The focus of the report was based on municipal cases composed of survey data from representatives of the education system, school principals and teachers in 14 municipalities. Other data used included educational statistics for 2018 and data from the PISA 2018 survey combined with the registry for the Finnish joint application procedure.

The results are reported in scholarly articles, and key findings have been compiled into a summary for use by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Contact persons: Meri Lintuvuori, PhD (Education), Postdoctoral Researcher, and Ninja Hienonen, PhD (Education), Postdoctoral Researcher,

Metrop-research 2010-2019

The longitudinal research project MetrOP (Educational Outcomes and Health of Children in the Differentiating Helsinki Metropolitan Area) centred on the learning and wellbeing of the adolescents in the 14 municipalities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Region. Over 8 000 7th graders participated in the study in its 1st stage in 2010. More recently, majority of these pupils have now continued with their studies in high school or vocational schooling. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Helsinki, the Finnish National Board of Education, the University of Tampere, and the National institute for Health and Welfare.

Sup­port for de­vel­op­ment, learning and study­ing

In autumn 2018 the Centre for Educational Assessment carried out a survey on the functionality of the support of development, learning and studying in the City of Vantaa. The survey focused on mapping out the implementation, appropriateness and sufficiency of support in early childhood education and pre-primary education, in Finnish- and Swedish-language basic education and vocational education.

Read more about the survey here (in Finnish only).

National assessment of learning to learn in 2017

Learning to learn crystallises an individual’s skills and ability to apply previous learning to solving new problems and learning new things. It refers to general cognitive skills fostered in various subjects, as well as the attitudes and beliefs that direct the use of these skills.

A national electronic assessment of learning to learn among ninth-graders was carried out in spring 2017.

Survey on support for language learning and school attendance in basic education

The University of Helsinki’s Centre for Educational Assessment contributed to carrying out a survey on support for language learning and school attendance in basic education. The primary goal of the survey was to produce information on statutory forms of support for learning and school attendance in terms of language teaching. The data were collected with questionnaires for teaching providers, teachers and principals conducted in late 2018.

Further information on the survey can be obtained from Professor Risto Hotulainen ( and Associate Professor Raili Hildén (

Key com­pet­en­cies in­ter­na­tion­ally

The crucial question in today’s global educational and labour policy was what kind of information and compentencies do the young people get from school and what were the new skills/competencies the labour market expects from them. CEA took part in a comparative research project “Key Competencies in Contemporary School: Curriculum and New Educational Practice”. The project was led by professor Isak Froumin from the Higher School of Economics (HSE). In addition to the University of Helsinki, other educational institutes were involved: from Russia, Poland, England, USA, Canada, South Korea and China.

The aim of the investigation was to create (local) descriptions about how the 21st century key competencies can be seen in the schools in different countries. In Finland the focus was on the data of the basics of the curriculum of the year 2014 and the information concerning its’ introduction.

The fol­low-up in Vantaa

The Educational Department of Vantaa ordered a follow -up for the digital learning project for the years 2015-2018 (the former name The tablets in Vantaa: new joy and interest in learning). The aim of the study was to survey the use of digital equipment in pre- and basic education and on the second grade and to investigate its’ connection to learning and motivation.

Finals report of the Vantaa follow-up study available in Finnish.

Connection to Japan

During the spring of 2017 CEA took part in a comparative study of four countries organized from Japan. The study was led by the research unit of the Japanese Benesse trust (BERD). The targets were the parents’ outlooks and practices in upbringing of children in nursery age and how the parents see themselves as parents and educators. The international report was completed during the spring 2018 and the report based on the enlarged, Finnish data will be released at the end of 2018. CEA and Benesse worked together already in 2008 in the research project “International Survey of Six Cities”. This survey clarified school children's attitudes towards learning.

Support in learning

The government funded the Support in learning -project which clarifies the materializing a child's or a pupil's right to support in early childhood education and in pre- and basic education. The study lasted until the pupils have moved on to the second grade.

The study was completed in the end of September 2018 in collaboration of the CEA researchers and the educational researchers in the University of Tampere.

Sev­eral languages and re­li­gions in school

The several languages and religions in school –project produced and spread as versatile data as possible about the need for teacher resources in different school forms. In this context the focus was on minority mother tongues and religions as well as Finnish or Swedish as the second language. During the study the researchers found current, research based and functional models in the education of these languages and religions. The researchers seeked and examined information of educational resources and pedagogical practices in early childhood education, pre- and basic education, vocational education, upper secondary school, teacher education and updating training. Free, ethically high standard of interaction was emphasized between researchers and organizers of education on all phases of the project.

Evi­dence of In­no­va­ti­ve As­sess­ment

Centre for Educational Assessment CEA and Spanish CARSA (Consultores de Automatización y Robótica, S.A.) worked together from October 2017 to April 2018 in a project financed by European Commission’s Joint Research Center: Evidence of Innovative Assessment (EvIA): Literature review and case studies (EvIA). The cooperation lasted from October 2017 to April 2018.  CEA’s part in the project was to prepare a literacy survey clarifying innovative assessment and to write a synthesis of the whole material.