Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2015:11: Theory-based evaluation of the curriculum Lgr 11

Ninni Wahlström () and Daniel Sundberg ()
Additional contact information
Ninni Wahlström: Linnaeus University, Department of Education, Postal: Växjö, Sweden
Daniel Sundberg: Linnaeus University, Department of Education, Postal: Växjö, Sweden

Abstract: This report presents and describes an evaluation project of the most recent Swedish curriculum reform, Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the recreation centre, Lgr 11. The purpose of the evaluation project is to generate new knowledge concerning the influences of international educational reform movements, national curriculum reforms and the implications for local teacher assessment practices. In this study we: (i) build on the framework of classical, explanatory curriculum theory by relating the societal, the programmatic and the classroom curriculum level, (ii) add a transnational perspective to the societal/ideological arena, (iii) link educational policies in the various arenas and levels by using the concept of recontextualisation, (iv) approach the question of what counts as knowledge as a struggle between basic curriculum orientations, and (v) introduce discursive institutionalism to curriculum theory as a way of including agency and change in educational institutions. The evaluation is using a mixed-methods design combining a discourse analysis of key curriculum documents, a quantitative teacher survey (n = 1 887) and a teacher interview study. The results show that the curriculum reform of Lgr 11 involves fundamental changes in the underlying ideas and assumptions (curriculum philosophies), which can partly be explained by a dominant transnational curriculum policy discourse. Further, Lgr 11 is in line with the standards-based reform model, which presumes a unidirectional and linear application of reform intentions and the results indicate an increased instrumentality in the view of teaching as a result of prescribed knowledge requirements and increased performance pressure. Finally, the evaluation shows that there are substantiated reasons to assume that the curriculum reform of 2011 will emphasize summative evaluation in Swedish schools, despite a strong discourse advocating formative assessment.

Keywords: Education policy; education; school; schooling; teacher

JEL-codes: H75; I21; I28

99 pages, June 27, 2015

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