“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.