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Bra gymnasieskola?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Didactic Science and Early Childhood Education.
2008 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Title: Good upper secondary school?

Language: Swedish

The aims of this licentiate thesis are to widen the knowledge within four

areas:

• The development of an instrument of criteria, which can be used

with the aim to describe what a “good upper secondary school”

can be.

• What upper secondary principals in the county of Stockholm in

the beginning of the 21st century express to be characteristic for a

“good upper secondary school”.

• What upper secondary principals in the county of Stockholm in

the beginning of the 21st century express to be the relation between

“good upper secondary school” and “upper secondary

school of high quality”.

• How criteria for “good upper secondary school” and “upper secondary

school of high quality” relate to views held by what in the

thesis is called “the quality business” and views held by the Swedish

state.

This thesis is an interview study with six upper secondary principals. The

interviews were semi-structured, starting with open questions and continuing

with questions based on an interview protocol constructed on the basis of

preparatory interviews with groups of students and groups of teachers, on the

author’s own professional educational experiences in different positions, and

on readings of different kinds of texts. Each question represented a possible

criterion for what may characterize a good upper secondary school.

The interview protocol in turn became the basis for the construction of an

instrument of criteria, which was used to analyze the interview transcriptions.

The analyzes of the interviews showed that the six principals agreed in

some respects and disagreed in others. All principals agreed that one of the

most important criteria of a good upper secondary school was the following:

The school is a pleasant place to be in, has a good spirit and a good common

value-system, is characterized by democratic values and has a good

psychosocial environment. The school is good at fostering the students. This

criterion was found to be regarded as the most important by the six principals

together.

The principals also agreed that everything in the following characteristics

of a good upper secondary school is very important or at least important: The

4

school is characterized by good internal communication and good cooperation.

It is successful when it comes to reaching and striving towards

the objectives of the school. It has high and distinctly formulated expectations

of the students and it is good at preparing them for life after school. It

also fulfils the expressed and unexpressed expectations of the surrounding

society.

The principals had different views on the relation between “good upper

secondary school” and “upper secondary school of high quality”. One of

them expressed that the two phrases were synonymous. Three principals

principally expressed the same view, but also argued that many people think

differently, namely that “quality” is more “objective” and “quantitative” than

“good” is. Two of the principals expressed exactly that view: “good” is more

subjective and connected to feelings, while “quality” is connected to measurable

and quantitative results.

In the last part of the thesis criteria characterizing “good upper secondary

school” are discussed in relation to two different, but related, contexts, “the

quality business” and the views on “good school” and “school quality” expressed

by the Swedish state through steering documents, school inspection

documents, a quality development instrument and the regulations of a quality

award.

The theoretical framework of the thesis has basically a hermeneutic approach,

which has been combined with theories about categorization, with

the basic philosophy of research in the area of School Effectiveness and

School Improvement, with research in the fields of learning organizations

and quality and with elements from the scientific philosophies of Thomas

Kuhn and Jürgen Habermas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholms universitet , 2008. , 157 p.
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16166OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16166DiVA: diva2:182686
Available from: 2008-12-15 Created: 2008-12-15Bibliographically approved

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