Quality assurance and evaluation (QAE) has been a vital element in the educational discourse of the Finnish state since the early 1990s. Changes in education were linked to a general wave of administrative reform in which decentralization and deregulation restructured the Finnish public sector. The breakthrough coincided with the deep economic recession of 1991–1993. Two interconnected ‘big ideas’ behind the reform were management by results and evaluation. The introduction of management by results has been recognized as one of the most significant administrative reforms in the Finnish (Temmes & Kiviniemi, 1997: 38) and European public sectors (Neave & van Vught, 1991: 245). Evaluation as a social practice and a form of knowledge is not new in education. What is new, however, is its central position and strong interrelationship with quality issues in the new mode of governance, often characterized as New Public Management. It has been described in terms of ‘major global turmoil’, involving the re-organization of education globally, nationally, locally and institutionally (Brennan & Shah, 2000: 13; Morley, 2003: 170).