Project: Understanding Curiculum Reforms

Project Members: Daniel Sundberg, Ninni Wahlström
Funding Organizations: Vetenskapsrådet
Timeframe: 2015 - 2018
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education
Subject: Pedagogic


Purpose and specific aims

The purpose with this evaluation project is to generate new knowledge concerning the relations and influences between international educational reform movements, national curriculum reforms and the implications for teaching and learning practices at a classroom level. More specifically, the aim of the project is twofold: firstly, to analyse the intentions, implementation and consequences/effects, of the Swedish curriculum reform for compulsory school, Lgr 11 (Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet, Lgr 11). Secondly, the aim is to theoretically and methodologically develop a former theory-oriented pedagogical evaluation tradition in Sweden, mainly developed by Franke-Wikberg and Lundgren during the 1980s and 1990s, from a national state-centered understanding of education towards a framework taking 2010's transnational influences into account.

The curriculum reform Lgr 11 is thus evaluated from a curriculum theory perspective, where curriculum can be distinguished at three levels (Lundgren 1989), i) the societal/ideological level for selection of norms and knowledge, i.e. the intended curriculum ii) the concrete development and construction of the curriculum in question, and iii) how the curriculum directs the teaching processes at a classroom level. The curriculum reform Lgr 11 will be contextualized by a research analysis of the effects of the curriculum reform in Sweden for compulsory school in the year 1994, Lpo 94. The project will answer crucial questions on how transnational and national influences formed the Lgr 11, how the recontextualisation processes have shaped the Lgr 11 reform at the local level, and in what ways and to what extent the Lgr 11 has transformed teaching patterns and practices at the classroom level.

Key evaluation questions

  1. The formation of curriculum discourse in a time of increasing transnational convergence concerning standards and assessment:

    (a). What convergences and divergences can be identified in an analysis of curricula constructions in international research literature and how can the curriculum Lgr 11 be characterized in relation to these constructions?

    (b). What conceptions of knowledge in the curriculum Lgr 11 are in accordance with a transnational movement of curriculum reforms, e.g. visible in the EU and the OECD documents, and what factors can be understood in line with national curriculum traditions and national policy?

  2. The recontextualisation of curriculum at a local authority and school level

    (c). How is the curriculum reform Lgr 11 re-conceptualized, understood and conducted by the local authority and school management in some selected municipalities?

    (d). What versions of teaching can be distinguished through the recontextualization process of the curriculum reform at the municipality and school level?

    (e). What are the effects of the recontextualization of Lgr 11 at the local authority and school level for the practices of the evaluation and assessment of curriculum goal attainment?

  3. The curriculum configurations in classroom discourse:

    (f). What organizational repertoires are used in the classroom, concerning the organization of teaching, content, space and time, to meet the requirements from curriculum Lgr 11?

    (g).  What implications of the curriculum reform Lgr 11 can be distinguished in terms of pedagogical communicative repertoires, conceptualized as teaching talk and learning talk, by drawing on comparative classroom methodology?