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“Quality Problems” in Swedish Municipal Adult Education: The Micropolitics of Quality Construed in the Audit Society
Linköpings universitet, Institutionen för beteendevetenskap och lärande, Pedagogik och vuxnas lärande. Linköpings universitet, Utbildningsvetenskap.ORCID-id: 0000-0003-1835-8505
2022 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)Alternativ titel
”Kvalitetsproblem” i svensk vuxenutbildning : Hur kvalitetens mikropolitik konstrueras i granskningssamhället (Svenska)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis was to analyze and critically scrutinize how quality is construed in an audit process in Swedish Municipal Adult Education (MAE) and the discursive effects. Drawing on adult education policy documents and observations of a quality audit process, as well as the Swedish Schools Inspectorate’s (SSI) Day, this study also contributes to the uncharted field of how the micropolitics of “quality” is being produced in the Audit society within adult education. By applying Carol Bacchi’s post-structural, Foucault-influenced ‘What’s the “problem” represented to be?’ approach, it became possible to analyze the politics of “quality” on a micro level. The results indicate that quality seems to be construed as a ‘lack’ or a ‘problem’ in Swedish MAE policy and during the quality audit that SSI carried out in MAE. Moreover, principals, teachers and heads of education seem to be held responsible for this lack as the increased need for flexibility and individualization is stressed as a solution to the ‘quality problem’. There also seems to be an ambiguity of how quality should be addressed, defined, audited, and produced in MAE, as the SSI seem to struggle with making quality measurable for it to be auditable. The analysis shed light on two different logics that underpin the way that quality is construed; on the one hand, it is construed as something elusive that can be used to pinpoint quality in teaching and schools. And on the other hand, it is construed as something quantitative and limiting that has effects on what can be said and done in MAE. There also seems to be a hierarchy between different ‘problems’ during the SSI’s audit of MAE which also have consequences for what can be said and done about quality in this context.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna avhandling var att analysera och kritiskt utforska hur kvalitet konstrueras i en granskningsprocess i svensk kommunal vuxenutbildning (komvux). Det empiriska materialet bestod av samtida vuxenutbildningspolicydokument, observationer av en kvalitetsgranskningsprocess av komvux som utfördes av Skolinspektionen och en observation av Skolinspektionens dag. Avhandlingen fokus guidades av frågan: Hur mikropolitiken om ”kvalitet” produceras i vuxenutbildning inom granskningssamhället. Därmed bidrar avhandlingen till det ännu outforskade fältet kring effekterna av mötet mellan komvux, Skolinspektionen och kvalitetsbegreppet. För att kunna analysera och kritiskt utforska hur kvalitet producerades på mikronivå användes Carol Bacchis (2009 poststrukturella, Foucault-influerade ’Vad är problemet representerat att vara? (WPR)-applikation. Resultaten indikerar att kvalitet verkar konstrueras som en ”brist” eller som ett ”problem” i vuxenutbildningspolicy och under Skolinspektionens kvalitetsgranskning och Skolinspektionens dag. Dessutom verkar huvudmän, rektorer och lärare hållas ansvariga för dessa kvalitetsbrister när ökad flexibilitet och individanpassning produceras som en lösning på ”kvalitetsproblemet” i komvux. När det pratas om kvalitet i dessa sammanhang så görs det också ofta i ambivalenta termer i relation till hur kvalitet ska adresseras, definieras, granskas och omsättas i komvux. Under Skolinspektionens dag framkommer det att Skolinspektionen å ena sidan producerar kvalitet som något mätbart som är lätt att arbeta med. Men å andra sidan produceras kvalitet också som något mer kvalitativt och svårmätbart som pågår bakom det som kommunerna visar upp för Skolinspektionen under kvalitetsgranskningar. Alla dessa olika sätt som kvalitet produceras på får konsekvenser för vad som kan tänkas, sägas och göras i vuxenutbildning. Det förefaller också finnas någon form av hierarki mellan de problemformuleringar som framkommer i mötet mellan Skolinspektionen, komvux och policy, vilket gör att vissa aspekter och vissa röster faller bort eftersom de inte inryms inom kvalitetsgranskningens ram.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2022. , s. 95
Serie
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 243
Nyckelord [en]
Adult Education, Governing, Swedish Schools Inspectorate, Quality, WPR-approach
Nyckelord [sv]
Kvalitet, Skolinspektion, Styrning, WPR-applikation, Vuxenutbildning
Nationell ämneskategori
Didaktik Pedagogik
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-188088DOI: 10.3384/9789179293581ISBN: 9789179293574 (tryckt)ISBN: 9789179293581 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-188088DiVA, id: diva2:1692816
Disputation
2022-10-14, KEY1, Key-house, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (Svenska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2022-09-05 Skapad: 2022-09-05 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-09-22Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. ‘Lack of quality’ in Swedish adult education: a policy study
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>‘Lack of quality’ in Swedish adult education: a policy study
2022 (Engelska)Ingår i: Journal of education policy, ISSN 0268-0939, E-ISSN 1464-5106, Vol. 37, nr 2, s. 269-284Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on how ‘problems’ regarding quality in adult education are constituted as particular sorts of ‘problems’. The analysis takes its point of departure in a poststructural analytic strategy called ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’. The material analysed consists of various policy documents concerning contemporary Swedish adult education. The results indicate that the concept of quality is described as being deficient and failing to address perceived challenges in adult education, namely the ‘heterogenous student group’ and ‘varying pre-conditions for the organisation of education’. Thus, the concepts of flexibility and individualisation are introduced as a ‘solution’. But at the same time, it is suggested in policy that the implementation of them has failed. In effect, representatives of the municipal authority and principals are held responsible and the need for more strict regulations and increased accountability in order to implement flexibility and individualisation in the adult education system are stressed in policy. Finally, the analysis of the policy documents leads to questions about the consequences for both school personnel and the students enrolled in adult education as the quality of the education seems to be assessed in relation to goal attainment and throughflow of students.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Routledge, 2022
Nyckelord
Individualisation, flexibility, municipal adult education, quality in education, WPR-approach
Nationell ämneskategori
Pedagogik
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-169052 (URN)10.1080/02680939.2020.1817567 (DOI)000566688200001 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2020-09-07 Skapad: 2020-09-07 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-09-22Bibliografiskt granskad
2. ‘Measurable but not quantifiable’: The Swedish Schools Inspectorate on construing "quality" as "auditable"
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>‘Measurable but not quantifiable’: The Swedish Schools Inspectorate on construing "quality" as "auditable"
2022 (Engelska)Ingår i: International Journal of Lifelong Education, ISSN 0260-1370, E-ISSN 1464-519X, Vol. 41, nr 2, s. 199-211, artikel-id 2041747Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

‘Quality’ in education has become a global phenomenon, and is frequently discussed in transnational and national policy. In such discussions, ‘quality’ seems to be both worthwhile and demanded, but at the same time, the concept has also been criticised in previous research as it seems to have attained a ‘common sense’ status. In this context, the role of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (SSI) is raised, as the SSI is commissioned by the Swedish Government to audit and review ‘quality’ in education. However, as the concept of ‘quality’ is left undefined in policy, the SSI has to enact national policy to review ‘quality’ in its quality audits. Hence, the SSI plays an active part in construing ‘quality’, as it makes it auditable through the indicators and systems it uses when conducting quality audits. Thus, this paper has critically scrutinised underlying assumptions and the discursive effects of how the SSI construes ‘quality’ in different policy proposals. To access and analyse such constructs, this article draws on Bacchi’s (2009) post-structural, Foucault-influenced ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach. The results indicate that ‘quality’ is presupposed to be both measurable and elusive at the same time. Hence, the SSI operates in a field of tension, targeting something more elusive than just figures and numbers when it comes to ‘quality’. The discursive effects of these presuppositions have implications for what can be said and thought about ‘quality’ at both national and local levels, as well as for students and school staff who are involved in the educational system.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Taylor & Francis Group, 2022
Nyckelord
Swedish Schools Inspectorate, quality, quality audit, WPR approach
Nationell ämneskategori
Pedagogik
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-183155 (URN)10.1080/02601370.2022.2041747 (DOI)000758845300001 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2022-02-24 Skapad: 2022-02-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-03-02Bibliografiskt granskad
3. Discursive Effects of “Quality” Talk During a Quality Audit in Swedish Municipal Adult Education
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Discursive Effects of “Quality” Talk During a Quality Audit in Swedish Municipal Adult Education
2023 (Engelska)Ingår i: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. 67, nr 4, s. 637-649Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

In transnational policy, directives on how to improve “quality” through auditing flourish. However, more research is needed about how these quality audits affect school personnel in local contexts. This paper has scrutinised the discursive effects of how “quality” is construed in school personnel's comments during a quality audit conducted by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate. By drawing on Bacchi's (2009) WPR approach, such constructs were analysed and interrogated. The results indicate that “quality” is construed as an absence of “warning flags”, and thus as compliance with standards. In effect, statements about quality seem to become problem-oriented. Moreover, “quality” is talked about as a responsibility, and in effect the concept becomes invisible. It is also suggested that “quality” is construed as something that both enables and obstructs different kinds of discussion and discernments. It silences what it is possible to say and calls into question the organisation of the adult education system

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Nyckelord
Adult education, educational policy, quality, Swedish Schools Inspectorate, WPR approach
Nationell ämneskategori
Pedagogik
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-183197 (URN)10.1080/00313831.2022.2042844 (DOI)000761482000001 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2022-02-28 Skapad: 2022-02-28 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-11-09

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