Shortcomings in important school statistics
Parts of the National Agency for Education’s statistics are not of sufficiently high quality, according to the Swedish National Audit Office audit. The shortcomings mainly concern statistics that aim to help pupils choose a school, and statistics used for resource allocation to school authorities to increase equality.
The National Agency for Education is responsible for information and for disseminating knowledge about the school system. Therefore, the agency produces large amounts of statistics, that serve, in particular, as a basis for choosing schools, allocation of resources, as well as follow-up, evaluation and research in the area of schools.
The Swedish National Audit Office (Swedish NAO) has audited how well the National Agency for Education fulfils its statistical remit. The overall conclusion is that efforts should be improved in certain areas.
The shortcomings concern statistics that play an essential part in pupils’ and guardians’ choice of school, as well as parts of the statistics that the National Agency for Education produces and that are used when the State allocates extra resources to school authorities to increase equality.
The Swedish NAO considers that there is a need for development, which includes the statistical model that serves as a basis for the “Salsa values”. The Salsa values are used to inform pupils and guardians about compulsory schools’ average grades in year nine, adjusted for pupil composition in schools.
Even if it was not the intent of the National Agency for Education, the Salsa values are sometimes used as an indicator of school quality. Municipalities occasionally apply the Salsa values when allocating resources to schools.
“Parts of the statistics used for, for example, school choice or resource allocation to increase equality must be quality-assured and communicated better,” says Christer Gerdes, Project Leader for the audit.
The audit also shows that the National Agency for Education does not sufficiently follow up what statistics are requested by the users and that the Government, in turn, does not follow up that the National Agency for Education fulfils its statistical remit.
“The Government has been too passive in its follow-up of the National Agency for Education statistical remit. A regular follow-up at a comprehensive level can be carried out without the Government infringing on the agency’s independent position as an agency with a statistical responsibility,” says Auditor General Helena Lindberg.
Recommendations in brief
The Swedish NAO recommends that the National Agency for Education, in particular, better quality assure statistics not classified as official statistics, but that are of major importance.
The Swedish NAO recommends that the Government, in particular, on a more comprehensive level regularly follow up that the National Agency for Education fulfils its statistical responsibility.
See the report for the full recommendations.
Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.
Presskontakt: Olle Castelius , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.
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