Award Recipients


Frode Restad, OsloMet – Storbyuniversitetet . For artikkelen: Is There a Hole in the Whole-School Approach? A Critical Review of Curriculum Understanding in Bullying Research, Nordic Studies in Education, vol. 40, 4 /2020

This article is awarded The Ahlström Award because it has developed an outstanding and critical scientific contribution to NERA’s journal Nordic Studies in Education. By way of a critical research review of 29 studies, the article uncovers a possible underutilization of curriculum knowledge in bullying research. It is argued, through a clear and concise structure, that lacks of conceptual clarity and gaps in understanding the curriculum may obstruct the development of new and innovative approaches to prevent bullying in schools. Through its critical point of view, the article has thus found a possible knowledge gap that should be filled when it comes to bullying research connected to schools; namely, to include a clearer and broader understanding of the curriculum dimensions and narratives.


Thomas Aastrup Rømer. Aarhus Universitet. For artikkelen: Kritik af John Hatties teori om visible learning. Nordic Studies in Education, vol. 37, 1/2017.

Since the publication of the book Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement in 2009, John Hattie has had a major impact on Western education. Thus Hattie’s theories have been discussed eagerly by educational researchers and others. Thomas Aastrup Rømer’s paper – Kritik af John Hatties teori om visible learning – is an important contribution to this discussion. Specifically, the paper makes a precise and subtle critique of Hattie‘s work, hernce revealing several weaknesses in the methods and theoretical frameworks used by Hattie. Rømer and his critical contribution inform us that we should never take educational theories for granted; rather, educational theories should always be made subject to further research and debate.


Ingrid Carlgren, Institutionen för lärarutbildning, Uppsala universitet. För artikeln “National curriculum as a social compromise or discursive politics? Some reflections on a curriculum-making process”, publicerad i Journal of Curriculum Studies, 1995, 27(4), s 411-430. Se vidare Nordisk Pedagogik, nr 2 1997 s 126.

Juryns motivering var: “Artikkelen trekker inn et nytt perspektiv på hvordan den konkrete og administrative læreplanutviklingsprosessen foregår. Samtidig representerer den en skarp kritikk av hvordan sentrale aktører håndterer et nasjonalt ansvar på en tilfeldig og ufaglig måte.”


Steinar Kvale, Psykologisk institut, Århus universitet. För artikeln “Research apprenticeship”, publicerad i Nordisk Pedagogik, 1997, 17(3), s 186-194. Se vidare Nordisk Pedagogik, nr 4 1999 s 272.

Juryns motivering var: “Artiklen indeholder en tankevækkende kritik af konventionel tilrettelæggelse af forskerutddannelsen og sætter spørgsmålstegn ved rationaliteten bag moderne uddannelsestænkning i almindelighed.”


Dennis Beach, Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Göteborgs universitet. För artikeln “Alienation and Fetish in Science Education”, publicerad i Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 1999, 43 (2), s 157-172.

Juryns motivering var: “Artikkelen bruker et marxistisk perspektiv på en kreativ måte som er eksemplarisk i sin forening av empirisk konkretisering og teoretisk tolkning. Den er også spennende i sin uortodoxa kombinasjon av tolkningsteori og studieobjekt.”


Elina Lahelma, Department of Education, University of Helsinki. For the article School is for “Meeting Friends: secondary school as lived and remembered”, published in British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2002, 23(3), p. 367-381.

The statement of the jury: “New aspects of young people´s manifold and ambivalent feelings towards school are revealed in this article, based upon data gathered by a variety of creatively combined methods.”


Yngve Troye Nordkvelle, Faculty of Social Science, Lillehammer University College. For the article “Didactics: From Classical rethoric to kitchen-latin”, Published in Culture & Society, 2002, 11(3), 315-330.

The statement of the jury: “Yngve Troye Nordkvelle is writing about such a theme that has been under research about 300 hundred years and still he has succeded to present some new viewpoints. The theme itself is a kind of watershed between European and Anglo-American approaches to the study of education.”


Hannu Simola, University of Helsinki, Finland receives the Ahlström award for 2007 for the article “The Finnish miracle of Pisa: historical and sociological remarks on teaching and teacher education” published in Comparative Education 41:4, November 2005, pp 455-470.

The article is a well written, broadly based text adding new perspectives to the understanding of the success of the Finish comprehensive school in international measurements of school achievement. The article discusses the Finnish school, its teachers, their education and status in the light of historical and geopolitical aspects of Finnish societal development. A particular focus is on the development of the Finnish school in a country where de-industrialisation took place rather late and where different aspects of modernisation happened extremely fast in a homogeneous society which still is characterised by traditional and collectivistic ideals.

The article brings a much needed alternative perspective to our understanding of a current educational issue and presents a research based and independent position.

(The Jury: Ingrid Carlgren & Gunnar Handal)


The Ahlström Award was not granted.


Staffan Larsson receives the Ahlström Award for 2011 for the article An emerging economy of publications and citations’ published in Nordic Studies in Education, 2009, no 1, p. 34-52.


Hansjörg Hohr, University of Oslo receives the Ahlström Award for 2013 for the article ‘Aesthetic quality in scientific experience: The problem of reference in John Dewey’s aesthetics’ published in Nordic Studies in Education, 2012, no 3-4, p. 196-208.


Dennis Beach, Marianne Dovemark, Anneli Schwartz and Elisabet Öhrn receive the Ahlström Award for 2015 for the article ‘Complexities and Contradictions of Educational Inclusion: A Meta-Ethnographic Analysis.’ published in Nordic Studies in Education, 2013, no 4, p. 254-268.

The authors have an exciting and innovative approach to the theme of educational inclusion. Their article is both resilient and original, opening up new perspectives in a field that has changed a lot in recent years due to socio-economic changes, new developments in school policy and increased migration. The article also provides interesting suggestions for a discussion that not only goes on in the Nordic countries, but also internationally. As such, the article provides an important contribution in both the Nordic and the international debate. The article is well structured, and is characterized by an analysis which is clear and consistent. The use of method is innovative and helps to grasp important details which have previously been overlooked.


Educational leadership for sustained multi-level school development in Finland. A non-affirmative approach, Nordic Studies in Education, vol. 36, 2/2016
Michael Uljens, Rolf Sundqvist & Ann-Sofie Smeds-Nylund

”Educational leadership for sustained multi-level school development in Finland. A non-affirmative approach” documents important and sobering findings on the topic of educational leadership. The existence of regional differences are properly documented, in connection with both Nordic and international research. Whilst traditional research in educational leadership relates to the premise that ”pupil’s social and cultural background is one of the strongest predictors of school achievement” (p. 104), the authors of ”Educational leadership for sustained multi-level school development in Finland” make room for new questions and perspectives in a research field that has roughly moved in the same direction; or, as the authors themselves claim: “Although parental education predicts school performance well, some of the best scoring PISA pupils in Finland are found in rural regions with a relatively low parental educational level” (p. 105). Therefore, the article highlights the importance to develop understandings of how school success is related to regional conditions, and not only to parental education. As such, the authors create important knowledge that makes important contributions to the field of research on educational leadership by focusing on internal processes in schools in cooperation with regional conditions.