This issue consists of five articles written in English. In one way or another the articles set out to map, explain, explore and describe certain issues relevant for education. At the same time, the articles pay attention to certain challenges in education, whilst providing suggestions as to how to meet some of these challenges.

In the first article, Torill Moen, Marit Rismark, Anne Sofie Samuelsen and Astrid M. Sølvberg present a systematic review of research on the Norwegian educational psychological service from 2000 until 2015, the purpose being to map out the investigated areas, identify areas with a lack of research and to make suggestions for further research. In particular, the researchers found that three categories describe the state of art in the educational psychological service in Norway: (1) research on work behaviour and professional identity, (2) research on specific problem areas and expert assessment, and (3) research on collaboration and users’ experiences. With this background, the authors suggest new types of research; for example, action research and comparative studies.

In the second article, Michael Tengberg, Astrid Roe and Gustaf B. Skar pay attention to schools being tested. As part of this testing we find standardized tests of reading comprehension, such as national tests, the PISA test and the PIRLS test. However, one problem is that the scores of the students depend on who is doing the scoring, rather than the levels of performance. This has to do with the fact that scoring rubrics must be interpreted by raters and used to determine whether a particular item response displays the expected competence or knowledge. But what about reliability? Are the raters consistent? Are the scores free from different forms of rater effects? The present study, therefore, investigates interrater reliability on open-ended items in the Norwegian national reading test (NNRT) in eighth grade.

Liv Duesund and Magnar Oedegaard examine disruptive behavior in situations of teaching and learning. The study is a comparison between schools in Norway and the USA, and the respondents were aged between 15 and 17. Through the article, we learn that students frequently engage in behavior that is not connected to the material being taught, and that behavior might distract teachers from teaching and students from learning. Indeed, all kinds of disruptive behaviors do impair teaching and adequate development of students’ social skills, according to the authors. As for the results, there were discrepancies. In particular, the Norwegian students seem to find disruptive behavior more disturbing than the American students, who report a higher prevalence of disruptive behavior.

Erik Lundberg’s point of departure is that there is a certain trend in the Nordic countries; viz., that the concept of tolerance appears as a central value in the school curriculum and in many political documents. Therefore, Lundberg explores the role of a positive school context for tolerance among Swedish students between 14 and 20 years old, with the help of the following research question: What role does experience with respect to the school, social networks, and personality traits play in explaining students’ levels of tolerance? One important finding of the study is that socioeconomic factors and social networks tend to play an important role.

In the final article, Marit Aas and Christian Brandmo explore implemented assessment systems that are meant to be tools for school improvement. In particular, the authors set forth to explain how school leaders in Norway respond to the expectations of national authorities regarding the use of assessment results to transform practice. What they find as an important factor is that school leaders are reliant on the teachers; hence, implementing change without commitment on the part of the teachers seems difficult.