Give your students good grades, or else…

Seminar had ended. Before leaving, I had a few words with the professor before going out the door. It had been a long time since the air outside had felt as fresh as it did right there and then. I think it was cloudy, a bit of a drizzle and about ten degrees outside. Being as happy as I was, almost euphoric, it felt like it was one of the most beautiful days in a long time. I was done. It was done. 

Well, almost.

I received some good comments and constructive criticism in that seminar, and during the days that followed I did the necessary adjustments and changes. As of now, a warm Sunday evening in Odessa, I am as done as can be. I´ll just have to read through my thesis once more before deadline, and at the end of the month I´ll get to press the much longed-for send-button. Since the professor asked me to write an article about my paper, I feel more confident than nervous.

So many of you gave me a thumbs up on Facebook and in person the days following the seminar, I was blown away. It also gave me the extra energy to tell you what I’ve writing about. The master´s is within Education leadership, education evaluation and research. I have analyzed what kind of school is being shown in the official documents from local school boards in Sweden. My discussion emanated from Michel Foucault´s theories on governmentality and from the term governance. (Maybe not the best or clearest definitions, but it serves purpose here. In my thesis, I discussed this over more than 20 pages (out of 60). So, don´t get me started…)

My analysis showed that only factors that could be easily measured and compared (grade point average, student teacher ratio and so on) were shown in the official documents from local school boards, while deeper and more complex issues such as democracy, basic principals and value-system weren´t discussed or presented at all. The core problem here is that this does neither acknowledge the complexity of schools, nor of the education processes. It just measures the outcome. And as we all now, numbers can basically prove what you want it to prove. Looking beyond the documents, this way of doing things can have far-reaching consequences. Schools are competing with each other to attract students, making it a necessity for schools to show that their students are getting great grades (at least better than the school next door). Thus, all parties at a particular school (school board/owner, teachers, principals and students) have a joint interest in students rather getting A´s than B´s,  passing rather than failing (even if the knowledge isn´t there). All in all, the situation has created a big incentive for the local school board/owner to put pressure on the teachers when grading students.

You have now been educated 😀.

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Otherwise, my mind is keeping busy with the following subjects:

+ Sweden qualified to the European championships in football 2016 as the last team. Yey! In other words: no pressure, boys!

+ Things are falling into place for next year´s travel. I´ll bring you up to date soon enough. For now, I am happy to be back in the Ukraine.

– Given recent killings in Yola, Beirut and Paris, seeing racists using the the general feel of fear in Europe for their own purposes is neither surprising nor disappointing. It´s just expected. More disappointing is to what extent intelligent people are buying into and accepting this agenda of fear, an ill-based fear that´s already shaping policys on state level.




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