Policy and Practice in Swedish Education, Assessment, and School Leadership

  • Christina WikstromEmail author
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 16)


In recent years, the Swedish school system has been subject to a number of reforms. These reforms have mainly been focused on decentralization and educational goals and have resulted in many changes for the schools and people in the system. Among other things, the responsibility for schools was moved from the state to municipalities. The “free school reform” and the introduction of a voucher system put the schools in the market and introduced competition on many levels. National steering documents would ensure common goals and comparability in terms of educational content. The idea was to give the professionals within the system, i.e., school leaders and teachers, the freedom to decide how to reach the goals, while using the open market to “weed out” unsuccessful schools.

The Swedish system which used to be one of the most centralized and regulated systems in the world, is today one of the most decentralized and deregulated, characterized by competition on many levels and an increasing focus on results. This has put pressure on the schools to show good results, which, in turn, has led to a number of consequences for all stakeholders. This chapter describes the Swedish goal-referenced school system through the perspective of educational accountability and looks at how the reforms and the increased focus on results have affected school leaders and teachers. Validity issues related to the current accountability model and the performance measures are also discussed.


Goal Attainment National Curriculum School Leader National Test Accountability System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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