News | 23 September 2020

Dare to measure and discuss quality in Swedish schools

- We have high academic expectations of all of our students and know that a safe and orderly school environment is a prerequisite for helping students to achieve their full potential. We make a difference for our students at our schools every day. It is very positive that researchers can now prove the effect that IES has on students’ school results.  I am particularly pleased that the report shows that this applies to all students regardless of background. We are a school that welcomes everyone and 41% of students have an immigrant background compared with the Swedish national average of 26%, says Anna Sörelius Nordenborg, CEO of Internationella Engelska Skolan.


The quality of Swedish schools needs to be raised to provide all students with the opportunity to receive a good education. To this end, there must also be a shared definition of quality and a shared system of measurement. Today, education researcher Gabriel Heller-Sahlgren (London School of Economics)and Professor Henrik Jordahl (Örebro Universitet) for the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) published a Policy Paper that measures school quality using the metric of “value added”.

This Paper shows that IES has higher value added than municipal schools in Sweden and also other independent schools. This advantage also applies for students with an immigrant background and the advantage is, if anything, slightly higher among students with low-educated parents.

The value-added score is based on the results from the national tests in years six and nine and it measures how much better the students perform compared with what can be expected from their prior test scores and background characteristics.

The complete Policy Paper is published here and a summary in Swedish is available.