Higher Education

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 585–597 | Cite as

Gender and the 2003 Quality Reform in higher education in Norway

  • Anne-Catherine Lehre
  • Arvid Hansen
  • Petter Laake


The Bologna Process in Europe aims to develop a coherent and compatible European higher educational system. In Norway, the Quality Reform in 2003 was the first step on implementing the Bologna Process. Internal quality assurance systems have produced several publications on internal indicators, such as student progress and teaching staff work loads, of the Quality Reform. To our knowledge, possible gender differences of these changes have yet to be evaluated. We therefore analyzed data on grades from the University of Oslo before and after the Quality Reform with regard to gender differences. Data on examinations from 1990 to spring 2007 (495,334 examinations) were analyzed using relative percentage graphs. The results show that female students have benefited more than males from the change of system: for several disciplines, male average grades were better than female average grades before the change, and female average grade were better than male average grades after the change. Male students show greater intrasex variability both before and after the introduction of the Quality Reform.


Gender differences Intrasex variability The Quality Reform Relative percentage graphs University grades University of Oslo 



Standard deviation


European course credit transfer system






Undergraduate level (Bachelor)


Graduate level (Master)


The faculty of mathematics and natural sciences



The authors gratefully acknowledge the use of data acquired from LIST ved Studieseksjonen, University of Oslo, Norway. The technical assistance with computer programming by Knut Petter Lehre (University of Oslo, Norway) is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Catherine Lehre
    • 1
  • Arvid Hansen
    • 2
  • Petter Laake
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, Department of Anatomy, Institute of Basic Medical SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.USITUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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