We pride ourselves on high academic quality as one of our core values. Grades from Internationella Engelska Skolan, including national tests and final grades, are carefully controlled so they give an accurate picture of students’ achievements and we can assess quality in our schools.
Now IES is calling for improvements for all schools throughout Sweden, whether municipal or free, including a more accurate grading system and national tests in all subjects.
Mr Damian Brunker, head of academics for IES, uses grade tracking systems to monitor IES’ results. He and two school managers (skolchefer) go through all data with each school during yearly quality talks focussed on ensuring that grading is correct. Teachers receive ongoing feedback to help them grade correctly.
He said: “Students grades’ must fairly reflect their knowledge and understanding after the work they and their teachers have put in. This is something that we take very seriously and discuss every year. 'Integrity in Grading and Assessment' is enshrined in our ethical guidelines, signed by all staff.
“We are doing everything possible in the current system to ensure our grades are set with integrity. However, the assessment system in Sweden has weaknesses and we want to be part of a conversation about working together and improving it. There should be national tests in all subjects, these should be anonymised, not marked by teachers who know those students. Grading systems should be precise and able to measure fact-based knowledge. There should also be more exemplar work so that those setting grades can clearly understand what the requirements are. We hope the new government will focus on quality in education and would welcome the chance to participate in such a project.
"National data and Stockholmsprovet, both show that IES students receive the grades that they deserve - meaning every one of our students can be proud that they have earned their grades through hard-work and dedication. Our grade tracking system is used to identify, where grades may not be in line with normal patterns for that school, municipality, the country and IES. This tool helps us ascertain whether high results are due to excellent teaching and student achievement, or whether there is confusion over grading criteria. The next step is to build banks of example work to ensure we have the same standards across all schools.”
The ethos of the organisation, which everyone is expected to live up to, means a far higher proportion of students from Internationella Engelska Skolan are able to achieve good grades (A-C).
The safe, calm environment provides an ideal atmosphere for learning. Students benefit from a school where they can concentrate on lessons without distractions or fear of bullying and achieve their high academic expectations. Lessons are structured, teacher-led, and used fully, so students learn as much as possible. Regular assessment means students and parents know where to focus their efforts.
Students have homework and are encouraged to attend academic surgeries if they need extra help, or want extra challenges.
Academic managers, subject leaders and heads of department work to ensure that students have everything needed for academic success. Student care teams and strong school leaders maintain the calm environment, while mentor teachers provide personal contact for each student.
All of this enables each child to shine their brightest and to use their time at school to meet their full potential.
A higher proportion of IES students take national tests. In mathematics, English and Swedish, the only subjects where firm conclusions can be reached, Skolverket's figures show that IES final grades are closer to the national test results when compared to municipalities and free schools.
The concept of the right grade is highly debatable within the context of the current system. IES welcomes feedback and suggestions on how we further can improve grading, such as Skolinspektionen’s review of national test grading.