Liberals want grades in school from age 10

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.

Liberals want grades in school from age 10

“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.

TT/The Local/rm

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Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

Parents with Arabic-sounding names get a less friendly response and less help when choosing schools in Sweden, according to a new study from the University of Uppsala.

Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

In one of the largest discrimination experiments ever carried out in the country, 3,430 primary schools were contacted via email by a false parent who wanted to know more about the school. The parent left information about their name and profession.

In the email, the false parent stated that they were interested in placing their child at the school, and questions were asked about the school’s profile, queue length, and how the application process worked. The parent was either low-educated (nursing assistant) or highly educated (dentist). Some parents gave Swedish names and others gave “Arabic-sounding” names.

The report’s author, Jonas Larsson Taghizadeh said that the study had demonstrated “relatively large and statistically significant negative effects” for the fictional Arabic parents. 

“Our results show that responses to emails signed with Arabic names from school principals are less friendly, are less likely to indicate that there are open slots, and are less likely to contain positive information about the school,” he told The Local. 

READ ALSO: Men with foreign names face job discrimination in Sweden: study

The email responses received by the fictional Arabic parents were rated five percent less friendly than those received by the fictional Swedish parents, schools were 3.2 percentage points less likely to tell Arabic parents that there were open slots at the school, and were 3.9 percentage points less likely to include positive information about the municipality or the school. 

There was no statistically significant difference in the response rate and number of questions answered by schools to Swedish or Arabic-sounding parents. 

Taghizadeh said that there was more discrimination against those with a low social-economic status job than against those with an Arabic name, with the worst affected group being those who combined the two. 

“For socioeconomic discrimination, the results are similar, however, here the discrimination effects are somewhat larger,” he told The Local. 

Having a high economic status profession tended to cancel out the negative effects of having an Arabic name. 

“The discrimination effects are substantially important, as they could potentially indirectly influence parents’ school choice decision,” Taghizadeh said.

Investigating socioeconomic discrimination is also important in itself, as discrimination is seldom studied and as explicit discrimination legislation that bans class-based discrimination is rare in Western countries including Sweden, in contrast to laws against ethnic discrimination.”