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The power of teacher-assigned grades in outcome-based education
Örebro University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (TekNaD)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5257-8208
Agder University, Kristiansant, Norway.
(English)In: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, ISSN 2002-0317Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In arguing for alternatives to test-based accountability, researchers have suggested that teacher-assigned student grades could be used for high-stakes purposes. In this study, Sweden serves as an example of a school system in which teacher-assigned grades have a major role in performance management and accountability. We study how politicians view and legitimise the strengths of grading in an outcome-based accountability system. Based on two-part analysis, we show how grades, through complex processes of legitimation, have acquired and retained a central position in governing the overall quality of the educational system in Sweden. We argue that in the Swedish system, grades used in an administrative rather than a pedagogical way function as a quick language that effectively reduces the complexity of communication between various actors with regard to what students learn and accomplish in education. As such, grades are legitimate in terms of their communicative rationality. However, their use in communicating student learning has not been sufficient to meet the needs of government. We conclude that in order to turn grading into an instrument that can moderate some of the downsides of testing regimes, a broader view of what constitute outcomes in education needs to follow.

Keyword [en]
accountability; quick languages; educational reform history; Grading; learning outcome;
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-136691DOI: 10.1080/20020317.2017.1317229OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-136691DiVA: diva2:1089722
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2017-04-20 Created: 2017-04-20 Last updated: 2017-04-30

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Hultén, Magnus
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Learning, Aesthetics, Natural scienceFaculty of Educational Sciences
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf