News | 04 April 2024

Of course we should be able to trust school grades

Fair and correct grades are crucial to our students’ future and the credibility of schools. That’s why integrity in grading is given the highest priority at Internationella Engelska Skolan, and while we have been successful in this area, we welcome the review of the entire grading system and the curricula that have now been initiated by the Government.


Given that grades form part of the admissions requirements for higher education, fair and correct grades are crucial to the entire educational system. Incorrect grades undermine the credibility of a school provider and of the educational system as a whole. IES regards grades as an important tool for teachers to provide feedback and for students to receive an indication of how they are doing. Teachers have been granted the authority to set grades, and as a basis for admission to further studies grade setting is crucial to each student’s future. It is therefore essential that any tendency for setting grades incorrectly must be identified and rectified.

There are major shortcomings in the Swedish grading system, so schools and school operators have a great responsibility for compensating for the weaknesses in the grading system. This is something we take very seriously at IES, and we have for instance implemented a central system for checking and following up grades. Our focus has started to pay off, and IES is now ahead of other school operators, both independent and municipal, in terms of the level of consistency between national tests and final grades in the subjects of mathematics, Swedish, Swedish as second language, and English.

“It’s good that attention is being given to the inadequacies in the grading system, and that the matter is being investigated, but it’s unfortunate that this issue has been hijacked by people who want to use it as a weapon in the political debate about modes of operation,” said Annakarin Johansson Sandman, head of academics at IES.

Consistency between final grades and the national tests is not an entirely satisfactory measurement of correct grading, but it is the best one currently available. IES welcomes the Government inquiry into the entire grading system, which

Magnus Henrekson has been appointed to lead. “As an independent school operator we work in a trust-based sector. Our entire organisation depends on families choosing our schools for their children. They will only continue to do so if we deliver on what we promise, and that includes correct and fair grading,” said Linda Öholm, head of public affairs at IES.

The current grading system leaves a lot to be desired, not least since the curricula lack any objective knowledge criteria for teachers to use. This puts teachers in a difficult situation as they do not have any external parameters, apart from the national tests, that they can refer to when they mark student work. While it would be a step in the right direction, external marking alone will not compensate for this shortcoming. This is why both the inquiry into the grading system and the inquiry into new curricula are so important.