My Views on Education in Sweden

Posts about improvement of education in Sweden based on classroom experience

The Significance Of Differential Assessments

Another academic year is almost here again, barely 3 weeks before students go on their summer holidays. Grading are almost done and stress levels are high for both teachers and students. One issue that struck me still is that schools and teachers have not really worked out the significance of differential assessments for students. Let me explain.

All students can. That is the slogan I took with me from my education as a special teacher. Even before then, there are a lot of us teachers out there who do not give up on students even when the students and their parents tend to have given up. But it is very important to meet the students at the point they are in their learning process and bring them up/higher.

Therefore, if is not right to give the same assessment/exams to the different categories of students we have in our classrooms. Surely, this is one of the disadvantages of national exams. But the national exams in maths for exampls cover for this by providing sections A (oral exams) & B (questions with short answers mostly) that all students with basic knowledge of mathematics are expected to pass.

I have seen students that some teachers summarily dismiss as “outrightly incapable” but some of the students came to my studio and wrote assessment at the lowest level and made it. I can understand the time/pain of actively planning for assessments for 3 or 4 categories of students in a class of 25 students. But if we fail to go through the pain, we will continue to produce more students not reaching the goals. In some schools, this lack of thoroughness on the part of the teachers have led to high percentage of students failing year in, year out. It is very sad.

Students who are struggling must climb a little at a time. They will never meet our expectations of climbing all the steps at once. They will continue to lack motivation because we refuse to take their difficulties into considerations.

Differential assessments do not mean lowering the bar or standard. It means I could run 10 kilometers in 70 minutes whereas someone else can run it in 30 minutes and another in 25 minutes. In the end, we all ran 10 kilometers.

Schools must invest time in internal competence development. A lot of meetings are unproductive nowadays and focus are not on the right challenges. In Sweden we talk about (beprövad erfarenheter) but very little of it is allowed to flourish. When students are in high school (year 7 – 9) in Sweden it is important to allow experienced hands to guide them. Even their foundations matter as well. We need to stop gambling with the future of our young people!

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About Me

Hi, I’m Lillie. Previously a magazine editor, I became a full-time mother and freelance writer in 2017. When I’m not spending time with my wonderful kids and husband, I love writing about my fascination with food, adventure, and living a healthy and organized life! Read more

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