Implementeringens dilemma: Regelryttere eller fleksible lærere - En kvalitativ studie av lærernes praktisering og fortolkning av fraværsgrensen
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This master thesis is a study on the implementation of the absence limit in norwegian upper secondary school. The absence limit is a normative, universal rule introduced with the intention of reduced truancy or undocumented absency. Heavily debated when introduced, the national absence limit was criticized for its intentions and possible consequences. After one year in effect, the absence has shown a clear drop. However, the first evaluation study regarding the implementation shows signs of local adjustments at schools. These local adjustments may lead to differential treatment of pupils, and thus contribute to a low degree of target achievement. The purpose of this thesis is to answer the following question: How is the rule practised and interpreted by the teachers, and is their practise characterized by necessary local adjustments, or are there examples of policy drift? Empirical data is collected through in-depth interviews with eleven teachers and three headmasters at three schools in Trøndelag region. Earlier research and theory on the topic is utilized to understand tendencies in the informants reflections. The thesis applies Lipsky’s street-level bureaucrats and principal-agent theory as a framework, together with literature on implementation and earlier research on absence. The finding of this thesis is that there are examples of local adjustments, and some variation on how absence is noted. My interpretation of these local adjustments points towards a response from teachers saying a rule like this cannot be applied the same way to all pupils in all situations. One can argue that normative rules in school requires a degree of discretion, in situations where the rule may not be expedient. These local adjustments may be necessary tools to optimize implementation, and I conclude that these are not clear examples of policy drift.