Education studies


Phone: (+45) 29 72 44 81


Research leader

Christian Ydesen

Associate Professor, PhD, born 1974

Project title

Access to Education between the Testing and Inclusion agendas

What is your project about?

Across the globe, education today takes place in a setting between competing agendas: one is the testing agenda and the other is the inclusion agenda. These agendas hold major implications in terms of access to education for students all over the world and they constitute a dilemma between, on the one hand, ideals about accountability/assessment and, on the other hand, ambitions to create a school system that can support possibilities of participation and learning for all students. The purposes of this research project are to 1) map and analyse this dilemma, as it is in evidence in a number of selected national contexts; 2) draw conclusions about the implications in terms of educational access; and 3) present solutions for the improvement of educational access.

How did you become interested in your particular field of research?

Through my research on testing and professionals in a historical perspective, it became very clear to me that student diversity has always been a challenge in education. In recent years, PISA-tests and various national testing programmes have exerted considerable influence on education globally. At the same time, ideals and concerns about inclusion have taken centre stage. Therefore, I took an interest in the dilemmas between these two powerful agendas in terms of children’s access to education, the implications in terms of social mobility, and how we can find solutions ensuring educational opportunities for all.

What are the scientific challenges and perspectives in your project?

This project covers five countries on four continents chosen for their contrasting education policies, sociocultural and economic circumstances, and variations in performance across supranational and national standardized student assessments. The selected countries have all introduced national tests and inclusion reforms. The selected countries are Argentina, Denmark, England, Israel, and China. A project of this scope and magnitude requires considerable project management, coordination, and active partners in the case countries. The perspective of such a project is the creation of very broadly-based knowledge carrying global relevance and which links with the UN sustainable development goals calling for inclusive and equally accessible quality education for all.

What is your estimate of the impact, which your project may have to society in the long term?

The new knowledge produced in this project aims to better equip and inform decision makers and practitioners around the globe in handling and navigating between the agendas of testing and inclusion. In that sense, the knowledge produced in this project holds the potential to have an impact on countless students’ lives and educational trajectories. In terms of research, the project will serve to bridge the gap between the testing and inclusion research camps and develop a typology that can serve as an analytical lens for understanding the interactions between the testing and inclusion agendas in terms of education access worldwide.

Which impact do you expect the Sapere Aude programme will have on your career as a researcher?

Participating in the Sapere Aude programme will grant me excellent opportunities for leading a big international research project which will contribute to education research in general as well as test and inclusion research in particular. It will also aid me in further developing and strengthening my international network and provide me with experience in organising international research collaboration. Finally, the Sapere Aude programme will strengthen my position in the international research field and give me the necessary experiences for running even bigger collective research projects in the future.

Background and personal life

I live in the small village of Suldrup just south of Aalborg in Jutland. I spend my spare time with my partner Heidi and our four children Columbus, Cornelia, Alba and Vigga.

City of your current residence: 

High School: 
Hjørring Gymnasium (1993)