The power of grades: How teachers' internal assessments become legitimate external data on the quality of education
2017 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, ISSN 1654-2290, E-ISSN 2245-0157Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Strangely, the simple question of what constitutes school results is rarely asked, even though schooling has become increasingly results-oriented in the Western world in recent decades. One measure that is used while being relatively unproblematised is student grades. How students perform, as assessed by their teachers in the form of formal grades, is often treated as if it is highly informative about school quality. In this article, we illuminate how internal assessments of pupils’ knowledge, carried out by their teachers, becomes external data on the quality of education: a learning outcome. To do this, we first look at the policy process in Sweden concerning the grading system during the rise of the New Public Management concept from the 1980s to the 2010s. We treat this as a process of legitimation in which grading works as a ‘quick language’: a way to reduce complexity by creating a common language to enable a smooth transfer of information in the field of education. Furthermore, we identify different uses for and perceptions of grades across various European countries, which has been ignored by previous studies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-53736DiVA: diva2:1051829