State school inspection in Norway is currently changing with targeted schools becoming subject to more complex methods of inquiry. Not only school principals but middle leaders are exposed to this shifting system, for the latter are in the frontline of their schools’ everyday practices. The article examines how state school inspection is used as means of controlling legal compliance, as well as evaluating the formative assessment routines and practices of schools, middle leaders, and individual teachers. Drawing on the concepts of accountability and performativity, field observations of inspectors interrogating department heads in primary education are analysed. The empirical study demonstrates how use of standardised rubrics steer the inspection process in schools, aiming more towards completing on task, rather than supporting middle leaders in their struggle to comply with legal standards. During such interrogation, the department heads comply with the system, and are at the same time open towards the inspectors’ questioning concerning the school’s lack of fully implemented routines.