CESS: Causes and Effects of School Segregation in Swedish Schools

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
3,450,000 SEK
Project period
2008 - 2011
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

The project is investigate effects and consequences of the recent reforms of educational policy and practise on educational equality in Sweden.

Aim of the project

The aim of this project is to investigate effects and consequences of the recent reforms of educational policy and practise on educational equality in Sweden. The main hypothesis to be tested is that voucher programs with free school choice exacerbate social and ethnic segregation of students, which enhances the peer and school contextual effects, and these changes, in turn, cause increased achievement differences between schools. My ambition is to examine the changes of the aforementioned segregation indicators for an extended period between 1991 and 2006, using data from the Gothenburg Educational Longitudinal Database (GOLD) at the Department of Education, and demographic information of Small Area Market Statistics (SAMS-Units) from Statistic Sweden. The research questions will be examined through establishing statistical causal models to connect changes in educational segregation and the possible explanatory factors. 5 studies were planned (for detailed description of these studies, please see the attached research proposal):

  • Study 1. Changes in variation in educational achievement between schools and individuals. The aim of the study is to investigate changes in the variation between schools and students in the grades of the final year of the comprehensive school (i.e., grade 9). The study will also investigate the relationship between the latent achievement variables and SES at both individual- and school-level, with a focus on changes in the strength of the relationship over time (1998-2007).
  • Study 2. Development of school segregation. This study examines whether or not the school segregation regarding SES and ethnicity has increased after the recent school reform in Sweden;
  • Study 3. Teacher competence and school segregation.
  • Study 4. Effects of segregation on academic achievement. Studies 3 and 4 examine the causal links between school segregation, school resources (e. g., competent teachers) and academic achievement;
  • Study 5. Causes of school segregation: free school choice or residential segregation. This study tries to locate whether the school segregation is due to free choice of schools or to the increasing residential segregation.

Studies such as the ones proposed in this project are important to investigate the effects of decentralization and deregulation, in particular, to examine the impact of the educational reforms on one of the fundamental principles of education in Sweden – educational equality. Such reforms have become a part of a global trend in the field of education, and the research presented in this project may offer some insights and valuable empirical evidence for other countries on the effects and consequences of these educational policy changes. The current project also is important for the methodological development of research of educational equality. It can be seen as a baseline study for future evaluation of policy measures taking to reduce segregation and inequality. Also, it opens a possibility, together with other countries, to examine the effects and consequences of education reforms globally. This is just one of the future research topics and areas that can be developed from the CESS-project.

Kajsa Yang Hansen is granted a 4-year assistant professorship by the Swedish Research Council to conduct the CESS-project, which is on-going between 2008-01-01 and 2011-12-31.

Research environment: Prerequisites Education Result (FUR)