This chapter offers a glimpse into the practices of writing in higher education in a European country and describes the influence of macro-level educational policies on writing in undergraduate studies. The context is a major educational reform in Norway called the Quality Reform implemented in the higher education sector from 2002. The Quality Reform affected the structure, financing, and leadership of higher education as well as the pedagogy. The reform is closely connected with the “Bologna process,” the most important effort ever made to align higher education systems in all European countries.1 Periods of reform offer a particularly interesting time setting for research because cultural traditions and established practices are then being challenged, lines of division among faculty become visible, and underlying views of teaching and learning come to the fore, even in academic cultures where this is not usually on the agenda. Norwegian universities, like most continental European universities, previously required very little undergraduate student writing and mainly assessed students on traditional sit-down exams. The Quality Reform did not explicitly deal with this situation, but nevertheless one of the pedagogical consequences of the reform was that virtually all courses now include compulsory student writing assignments and teacher feedback. The empirical basis for this chapter consists of two nationwide survey studies of higher education in Norway in which I have been involved and two case studies, one in history and one in law. The most comprehensive of the surveys is the research evaluation study of the Quality Reform while the second is a study of portfolio practices after the reform. The following overarching questions are discussed, drawing on sociocultural theory perspectives: (1) To what extent has the Quality Reform resulted in change in writing and feedback practices? (2) How can these changes be explained in

relation to other aspects in the reform like changes in assessment (i.e., portfolios)? (3) What other factors have contributed to the change? In order to provide a context for the readers I will focus primarily on the reform as this is essential to understand the significance of the findings and the discussion.