Skolinspektionen (the School Inspectorate) gives one in every nine students a non passing grade (IG—icke godkänd).
Those same students may already have "passed with distinction" (MVG—mycket väl godkänd) when they were graded by their teacher. Eva-Lis Sirén, chairwoman of Lärarförbundet (the Swedish Teachers’ Union), says it’s serious.
“The purpose with national tests is to be a guiding principle for national equivalence; they are to set the bar for the demands we have in Sweden. They may not be designed to leave room for interpretations, or that purpose is lost.” The tests that Skolinspektionen have corrected were for the course Svenska B. The greatest problems were in open questions, where for instance the students had to write their own essays. “This shows that more clarity is needed and less space for interpretation when the tests are being corrected,” says Sirén. But just as important is to help teachers reach a better work climate, Sirén adds. Today, teachers are among the most stressed work group there is. “They have to have time to discuss grades and evaluations with one another. They have to work together in order to reach norms and rules that work for them. That’s very important.” Sirén says she is not surprised to find that students get higher grades when their own teachers are grading: “Surprised is not the word. To me it shows that the tests don’t work as the kind of guidance they must be. The room for interpretation is simply too great.”