The proportion of students from Internationella Engelska Skolan who qualify for upper secondary school remains well above average, according to statistics from the National Agency for Education (Skolverket). Among IES students who graduated this spring, 96.6 per cent were eligible to study a vocational programme, and 93.6 per cent were eligible to apply for a theoretical programme.
Annakarin Johansson Sandman, head of academics at IES, said: “It is important that our students have the opportunity to study further, that is the goal that we have, high academic expectations of our students.
“This is a result of everything we do at IES; peace and quiet in lessons, high expectations for students and measures put in place for students who struggle to reach their goals.”
Across Sweden on average 86.2 per cent of students leave compulsory education with the qualifications required to attend a vocational course or higher at upper secondary school. This means an extra ten IES students in every hundred can continue their education, when compared to the national average.
When it comes to students who were born outside Sweden to non-Swedish parents, the positive effect of IES schools is even clearer, 91.8 per cent of those graduating from IES schools are able to continue to a vocational course or higher, against a national average of 65.8 per cent of students.
Compulsory school is the basis for further study and so it is important that students acquire the knowledge and understanding to be able to cope with upper secondary school.
“The important thing is that the students' knowledge matches their grades, and that the schools set correct grades.” Ms Johansson Sandman explained. “The last time we had national tests in Sweden, in 2019, we could see that the grades of IES students were closer to the results in the national tests in most subjects than the national average.
“We introduce grade-like assessments as early as possible so that students can follow their development in a clearer way. This means that our students know what is required and can take responsibility. In this way, we can also see early on where we need to increase support, or if we need to challenge them in their learning.”
During the past two years, when no national exams have been held, IES has instead worked with internal moderation, subject conferences and workshops on grading for IES principals, deputy principals and academic managers. These school managers are responsible for ensuring and developing the school's teaching according to the curriculum.
“We talk about correct grading all the time when we are out visiting the schools.” said Ms Johansson Sandman.
She finds it positive that the proportion of IES students eligible for upper secondary school has actually increased in the last two years, despite corona. She said: “We have really talked about how we work digitally, and about the importance of students in grade nine receiving instruction on site at school as much as possible during the pandemic.”
IES has produced its own material for moderation discussions that the schools worked with, instead of the missed national tests.
“For us, it is important that our students come out with the right knowledge, and that their knowledge and grades match each other so that students have the right conditions when they go on to high school, and so that their teachers in high school understand what they need.” Ms Johansson Sandman said.
In her view it is important not to forget the students who are high achievers, while at the same time supporting students who need it.
She said: “How to challenge everyone at every level is something we have always focussed on. That is, how do we stimulate students who want more challenges, so that they do not lose interest? All of our 43 schools have their own methods, for example, by giving students in-depth assignments, and through using the curriculum for IGCSE that many of our schools offer.”