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Liberals want grades in school from age 10

Liberals want grades in school from age 10

Published: 29 Oct 2012 14:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Oct 2012 14:42 GMT+01:00

The Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) wants to introduce grades in Swedish schools from year 4, when the children are ten years old, in a bid to encourage students to work harder.

“Students will take school more seriously if they are graded,” said Minister for Education, Jan Björklund to news agency TT.

According to the Liberals, the big step towards an earlier grading scheme has already been taken as schoolchildren in Sweden this year will receive grades from year 6 (age 12) instead of the previous year 8.

Changing it to year 4 wouldn’t be as big of a change, according to Björklund.

“Parents deserve the right to clear information on how their children are doing in school and the kids take their work more seriously if they are assessed. These are two very important arguments to introduce grades at an earlier age,” said Björklund.

The party, which presented its new programme for Swedish schools on Monday, also said it wanted independent examinations in Swedish high schools.

The Liberals haven’t completely worked out as of yet exactly how these tests would be made up and what role they would play, but according to Björklund they would have an impact on the overall grades.

“The reformation of the Swedish school system must continue. We have made extensive changes so far but we judge that what has been done is not yet enough to bring Sweden back in the lead on a global scale,” said Björklund.

However, the scheme has already been criticized by the Moderates and the Centre Party, both remaining sceptical about lowering the grading age before it has even been established how this year’s change will affect the children’s performance.

The first 12- and 13-year-olds to be graded in Sweden will receive their report cards at the end of the autumn term.

Chairwoman for the Swedish Teachers’ Union (Lärarförbundet), Eva-Lis Sirén, is concerned that the Liberals want to put more emphasis on grades.

“We are not going to solve Sweden’s education problems by increasingly measure results. The pig does not get fatter just because we weigh it every day,” she said to TT.

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Your comments about this article

17:59 October 29, 2012 by johan rebel
What about report cards from 1st grade? Worked for me.

The unions are just afraid of having the results of their teaching measured.
20:57 October 29, 2012 by jmclewis
Everyone is equal and has the exact same abilities. So there is no reason to have grades at all. Just try what you think is your best in what interest you. It is not fair if another person get a grade higher or lower than you.
22:21 October 29, 2012 by markusd
"We are not going to solve Sweden's education problems by increasingly measure results. The pig does not get fatter just because we weigh it every day," she said to TT.

Someone need to explain to this person that the purpose of weighting the pig more often is to let the farmer know sooner if he should give the pig more to eat.
09:21 October 30, 2012 by isenhand
@markusd

Yeap, or from an engineering point of view - you can't control what you can't measure. So long as feeding the pig does result form measuring the pig. You also need to take care in what you measure and how. You can measure an increase in the weight of the pig without the pig getting fatter!
10:45 October 30, 2012 by skogsbo
Testing has a place, But the UK introduced lots of them, instead teacher teach the pupils how to pass the tests, but not the whole topic. If a school, a teachers ability is to be measured by it results, the system becomes engineered towards the highest scores, not the most skills or knowledge.

Having come from the UK where exam results have risen every year, but kids writing and math skills have plummeted, the proof of testing too much is fully evident.
11:29 October 30, 2012 by markusd
@skogsbo,

A test can be an excellent feedback mechanism but only if it tests the thing you're trying to improve.

If one set of tests indicate that writing and math skills are improving while another (test, I assume) says they are plummeting, then one of the tests is wrong.

The solution is not to test less but to design a better test that actually focuses on the things you need to improve.
12:14 October 30, 2012 by skogsbo
The tests aren't the problem, it the focus on results. If it is on a classes, teachers or schools interests to obtain better results, year upon year, then you develop a test driven system.

Part of the UK's problem was private examining bodies, government targets etc. Over testing usually becomes underlearning,the lead up to exams is revision focussed, not new learning, post exam everyone relaxes and coasts until the next exam period.
12:43 October 30, 2012 by Achilles7
jmclewis: re. message no. 2

I do hope you are being sarcastic...
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