Line Renate Gustafsson

What Did You Learn in School Today? How Ideas Mattered for Policy Changes in Danish and Swedish Schools 1990-2011

During the past decades reforms of schools’ assessment policies have been prominent. These changes are argued to be particularly puzzling in a Scandinavian context. In countries like Denmark and Sweden the instances of grade awarding and tests and exams have been reduced and pushed to the older forms. Recently, however, both Denmark and Sweden have significantly reformed their assessment policies by adopting national tests, student plans, external assessment institutes and new grade scales. Overall, the change appears to have been brought about by a change in beliefs about the purposes of assessment. Assessment is now seen a pedagogical tool that can help more pupils get a higher education. Further, assessment is seen as a tool to evaluate the schools’ quality on a system level. This brings out this book’s overall research question: How did ideas about school assessment change? The main argument is that political parties can utilize ideational mechanisms of de-legitimization and legitimization to persuade other political parties to change their ideas. The dissertation presents a longitudinal multiple case study of the process of school assessment idea changes in Denmark and Sweden. 

Udgivet maj 2012


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