Could giving more information make Sweden's schools better? File photo: Jessica Gow / TT.
Could giving more information make Sweden's schools better? File photo: Jessica Gow / TT.

Rankings floated as a way to improve schools

2:44 min

What could make Sweden's schools better? One researcher believes giving more information on a school's performance to parents is an important step in improving the nation's education system.

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, a doctoral student at the London School of Economics, tells Radio Sweden that more information could help parents choose the best school for their children as well as help government agencies identify problems within the education system.

"By providing better information, we enable parents to have a better idea of which schools are good and which schools are bad," he tells Radio Sweden, "and hopefully that will lead to some migration from the bad schools to the good schools."

The proposal was one of many put forth at a two-day conference on school politics put on by the business think tank, the Centre for Business and Policy Studies.

Heller Sahlgren says currently parents can access average grades, the socio-economic composition of the student body and the general reputation of a school but adds that grades are set by teachers and can vary from school to school and that socio-economic composition only lets parents make assumptions about the quality of the school.

A criticism for the proposal is that is could create a downward spiral for under-performing schools. Heller Sahlgren admits that this type of reform isn't popular with Swedish authorities or even some parents but says they're needed to reverse the trend of sliding test scores with students.

"Swedish kids do not perform well when it comes to knowledge-based tests like PISA and TIMSS," the two major international tests used to measure student's aptitude, Heller Sahlgren says. 

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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