Abilities, knowledge requirements and national tests in RE – The Swedish case as an example in the outcome-focused school and society of today

Christina Osbeck, Olof Franck, Annika Lilja, Karin Sporre, Johan Tykesson
2018 Zeitschrift für Pädagogik und Theologie  
The aim of this article is to present the system that governs Swedish RE in terms of curricular requirements, national tests and their outcomes, and discuss this in light of the current critical debate on an outcome-focused school, as well as the debate on the need for 'powerful knowledge'. The debate on educational achievements and measurements can be seen from different angles. On the one hand, there are reasons to take the criticisms seriously, for instance concerning how such a focus tends
more » ... o instrumentalise and superficialise knowledge and education. On the other hand, from a societal perspective, one has to ensure that all students, through their education, have opportunities to develop powerful knowledge that helps to explain the world so that school can contribute to social justice. Against such a background, the Swedish system is described as a rather strongly steering system that regulates schools through curricula but also monitors them through national tests. Through a brief presentation of empirical findings from the EthiCo project, it is shown how this system in practice limits the students' chances of acquiring a multidimensional ethical competence and instead highlights a one-dimensional argumentative competence. Such a teaching runs the risk of reducing rather than widening students' ethical competence.
doi:10.1515/zpt-2018-0056 fatcat:md5eh3i5pncw7p3d5b363d4jzu