Schools minister to get tough on grades

Schools minister Jan Björklund wants to stop teachers from giving out what he considers to be too high grades. The Swedish National Agency for Education should have greater control over how teachers mark tests and set grades, he says.

A number of studies have shown that the grade is not always entirely fair, with the same result prompting different grades depending upon which school the student has attended. That, argues the new schools minister, must change.

“I believe that the principle of supervisory teachers awarding national grades to their own students is wrong,” said Björklund.

“We will look at a system where the national schools inspectors will take in a random sample from different schools and mark them to ensure that no school is too far under or over the national level,” he told TT.

If any school’s grades are found to be significantly diverging from the norm, the agency will be able to go in and find out why.

The grade checking will be introduced along with other improvements in the school inspection process, and the national test will play a more important role.

“I would like everything to be in place before Christmas, but the truth is that it will take a couple of years,” said Björklund.

In opposition Björklund was one of the fiercest critics of the Social Democrats’ schools policies. Swedish schools have been on the wrong track since 1968, he said, abhorring all demands for knowledge and study discipline.

“We will see the effects almost 40 years later. I would like us to bring about a shift in values,” he said.