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(Mis)trust in numbers: shape shifting and directions in the modern history of data in Swedish educational reform
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education.
Stockholms univeristet.
2013 (English)In: The Rise of Data in Education in Education systems: collection, visualization and use / [ed] Martin Lawn, Oxford: Symposium Books, 2013, 1, 57-78 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter the authors explore the uses and meanings of data in Swedish educational reform, practice and discourse from roughly the 1940s up to the present day. Their survey covers both national data and international data and includes quantitative as well as qualitative data. They start in the 1940s with two empirical examples that in a way show an antithetical attitude towards data. Travel accounts from America were based on a qualitative approach, and expressed the attitude that the schools studied were important because they were different, modern and inspiring. At roughly the same time, standardised testing was introduced as a technique of connecting the different parts of the school system and rationalising student admission processes. The consequences of this standardisation came under severe attack during the late 1960s and 1970s, resulting eventually in the introduction of a criterion referenced grading system. Finally, the authors highlight the fact that the last few decades have seen the flourishing of such things as international assessment and school inspection, and there has been an increased emphasis on grades and testing. These examples illustrate that the meanings and techniques of data are objects of a continuous negotiation where sometimes even resistance towards measuring tends to be based on measurements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Symposium Books, 2013, 1. 57-78 p.
Comparative Histories of Education
Keyword [en]
Data, comparative histories of education
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Education; Samhällskunskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-30952ISBN: 978-1-873927-32-8 (print)OAI: diva2:689555
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-01-28Bibliographically approved

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