University of Oulu

Sullanmaa, J., Pyhältö, K., Pietarinen, J. and Soini, T. (2019), "Differences in state- and district-level stakeholders’ perceptions of curriculum coherence and school impact in national curriculum reform", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 57 No. 3, pp. 210-226.

Differences in state- and district-level stakeholders’ perceptions of curriculum coherence and school impact in national curriculum reform

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Author: Sullanmaa, Jenni1; Pyhältö, Kirsi1,2; Pietarinen, Janne3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
4Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-03-06


Purpose: Shared understandings of curriculum reform within and between the levels of the educational system are suggested to be crucial for the reform to take root. The purpose of this paper is to explore variation in perceived curriculum coherence and school impact among state- and district-level stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach: The participants (n=666) included state- and district-level stakeholders involved in a national curriculum reform in Finland. Latent profile analysis was employed to identify profiles based on participants’ perceptions of the core curriculum’s coherence and the reform’s impact on school development.

Findings: Two profiles were identified: high coherence and impact, and lower consistency of the intended direction and impact. State-level stakeholders had higher odds of belonging to the high coherence and impact profile than their district-level counterparts.

Practical implications: The results imply that more attention needs to be paid in developing a shared and coherent understanding particularly of the intended direction of the core curriculum as well as the reform’s effects on school-level development among state- and district-level stakeholders.

Originality/value: The study contributes to the literature on curriculum reform by shedding light on the variation in perceived curriculum coherence and school impact of those responsible for a large-scale national curriculum reform process at different levels of the educational system.

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Series: Journal of educational administration
ISSN: 0957-8234
ISSN-E: 1758-7395
ISSN-L: 0957-8234
Volume: 57
Issue: 3
Pages: 210 - 226
DOI: 10.1108/JEA-08-2018-0153
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture under Grant No. 6600567; and the Academy of Finland under Grant No. 295022.
Copyright information: © 2019, Jenni Sullanmaa, Kirsi Pyhältö, Janne Pietarinen and Tiina Soini. Published by Emerald PublishingLimited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at