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Contemporary challenges for quality assurance in teacher education: the Swedish example – do central inspections impede local quality cultures?
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (History and Education)
2012 (English)In: Quality assurance and teacher education: international challenges and expectations / [ed] Judith Harford, Brian Hudson and Hannele Niemi, Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2012, 85-114 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter provides a description as well as an empirical analysis of the Swedish quality assurance (QA) system for teacher education (TE). On a descriptive level it is essential to note that TE is included in the general QA system for higher education (HE). Governmental ordinances provide the framework and the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (NAHE) is the responsible body.

The description of Swedish HE and its QA system offers a frame for understanding of Swedish TE and its QA model. The QA system of Swedish HE is recently reformed towards focus on outcome in relation to previous system focusing on prerequisites, processes and results. Higher education institutions (HEI) has to apply to requirements but they are not only free to act and design local quality assurance system according to local strategies, they are assumed to do so in order to enhance quality.

On an analytical level concern is raised regarding consequences of the increased emphasis on QA. There are indications that progress in QA also results in higher quality in first category operations as research and teaching but there are concerns that emphasis on national QA activities diminishes the role of QA elements developed locally due to local conditions, strategies etc.

Self-evaluation reports are essential parts of the last decades QA system and such reports are in this study used as empirical records on QA strategies. The relationship between institutional characteristics and choice of QA elements is analyzed as significant for the level of adaptation to what’s assumed to be required from above and as indications on development of local QA cultures. Findings indicate that HEI restricts their QA to what appears to be required by NAHE. The external inspection seems to dominate over local initiatives that could be assumed to be of fundamental importance for the future development. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2012. 85-114 p.
, Rethinking education, 6
Keyword [en]
Swedish Higher Education, Swedish Teacher Education, Quality assurance, autonomy, institutional variety, high quality teaching, promotion of excellence
National Category
Educational Sciences History
Research subject
history of education
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66515ISBN: 9783034302500OAI: diva2:607243
Available from: 2013-02-22 Created: 2013-02-22 Last updated: 2016-06-10Bibliographically approved

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