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Managing evaluations in local school governance in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science. (UCER)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the use, functions, and constitutive effects of evaluation systems in local school governance, and identifies how contextual factors affect various uses of evaluation in this context. It also discusses the scope for creative leadership in managing evaluations in local school governance in Sweden. “Evaluation system” is an umbrella term referring to all kinds of evaluation methods, including inspection, audit, and quality assurance. This case study of three Swedish municipalities demonstrates that local evaluation systems are set up to effectively sustain local school governance and ensure compliance with the Education Act and other state demands. Local decision-makers have learned to navigate the web of evaluations and have developed response strategies to manage external evaluations and to take into account what can be useful and what cannot be overlooked in order to avoid sanctions. The information they get first hand from site visits or through informal channels is crucial for validating and complementing knowledge and information produced by evaluation systems. The study confirms that in contexts with high issue polarization, such as schooling, the use of evaluation differs between the political majority and opposition, and relates to how schools perform in national comparisons. Responses to external evaluations follow the same pattern. Some national key performance indicators from the National Board of Education inform local school governance; these are taken at face value, integrated into the municipal school goals, and used for benchmarking. These measures also help define what is important in education and indicate the constitutive effect of evaluation systems. The scope for creative leadership is substantial at the local level in the Swedish governance structure and education system.  The scope is used differently but not fully in the three studied municipalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. 1- p.
Keyword [en]
Evaluation systems, local school governance, leadership, context, navigation, use, constitutive effects
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93388OAI: diva2:748250
Policy & Politics Conference 2014, 16th and 17th September 2014, Bristol
Utvärderingars konskekvenser för grundskolans praktik
Swedish Research Council, 721-2011-6157
Available from: 2014-09-18 Created: 2014-09-18 Last updated: 2015-07-02

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Hanberger, Anders
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Department of applied educational science
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