I work as lecturer in Education at the University of Gävle, where I teach undergraduate students in teaching training programs and supervise at the same level.
PhD on informal social strategies
I am also a PhD-student in Education at another university, and I am towards the end of my doctoral studies. My main research interest includes assessment, a goal and result oriented school context, the field of tension between the development towards individualization of the learner at school and the widespread phenomenon of social networks, pupils’ collaborative strategies in dealing with individual assignments, the impact of digitalization on pupils’ schoolwork, as well as the schools’ equity and social justice. In my research I explore, from a pupils’ participant perspective, collaborative strategies pupils have developed inside and outside the classroom in relation to formative assessment as well as summative assessment. This comprises leaked National Tests for the last year of compulsory school.
How can teachers better assess students' efforts
The findings show that, in a Swedish goal-oriented and result oriented lower secondary school context with an enhanced focus on visual learning and on assessing and grading the individual pupil, the pupils applied informal strategies and used digital technology out of the teachers’ supervision. Examples of this were that some pupils logged into peers’ Google classroom accounts and wrote assignments for them, and that some pupils (outside and after school) sent text messages to more high achieving classmates asking them to take a picture of their completed written assignment and forward to them so they could reformulate it in their “own words” and hand in to the teachers for grading.
Individual tasks become social activities
Some pupils made the visual learning invisible for the teachers by moving it out of the teachers’ sight, and some pupils turned their individual assignment into a social exercise by relying on assistance from peers. Thus, in a goal and result oriented school context with an enhanced focus on assessing and grading the individual pupil’s achievements, the pupils’ strategies turned the formal assignments into informal activities, individual assignments were dealt with socially, and the supposed visual learning was made opaque for the teachers. This was facilitated through the pupils’ use of digital technology, such as the computers provided by the school as well as the pupils’ own mobile phones. The findings suggest that, consequently, the pupils’ informal social strategies lead to an assessing dilemma for the teachers who could not know who had composed the written assignment – and that the individual pupils might not get the help (s)he needs from teachers to learn at school. Moreover, the study describes how pupils relate to leaked National Tests and how these are shared on the class’s Snapchat group. Thus, the pupils’ informal social strategies risk to undermine the validity and equality of the grades both at local and national levels.