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SOLO - The connection between social background and literacy in different countries

Research project
Inactive research
Project size
1,620,000 SEK
Project period
2004 - 2006
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

Financier
The Swedish Research Council

Short description

The project is based on data collected recently in the context of a major international reading survey (PIRLS) with 35 participating countries. The survey includes information on pupils' home relationships and their educational and school environments. The analytical methods applied depend on advanced mathematical models tested in recent years. The project will not only be of great policy value, but the issues surrounding it are part of the classical social science issues.

About the project

Swedish school has undergone major changes over the last 15 years. Similar changes have taken place in many other countries, including increased decentralization and transition from regulatory control to target and performance management. Examples of changes in Sweden are the school's municipalization, the introduction of school money and independent schools.

Some of the reasons behind the changes have been about more efficient use of shared resources. Others have expressed an increased influence for the citizens of society's institutions as well as important motives. School reforms have been seen as democratic reforms.

The changes have given rise to many discussions. One of the most important issues has been about the role of the school in a segregated or at least economically differentiated society. Does school reform increase the gaps in society? Will pupils 'school results and educational choices be more determined by parents' education and financial resources? Will the municipal school be drained on talented and ambitious students with the result that schools are layered in an A and B teams? Or, on the contrary, do reforms provide opportunities for students in bad schools to apply for a better school, a bit away from home? And does not the decentralization bring about opportunities for educational development through the diversity that is now allowed?

Against this background, it is of course interesting to investigate whether the connection between social background and school performance has increased. There is very little research on these issues and the proposed project can contribute in two ways.

1. Through the opportunity to study changes over time;
2. Through the ability to compare developments in Sweden with 30 other countries.

Research environment

Prerequisites, Education and Results - FUR