Experiences with standards and criteria in Sweden
In Sweden, a criterion-referenced grading system was introduced in the mid 1990s, after decades of norm referencing. The shift brought about a number of changes at different levels of the educational system. In this, the national tests, with their long tradition and high degree of acceptance, were seen as one way of implementing the new system. Hence, the tests were given several explicit aims, from clarification of subject syllabuses and criteria and active, positive impact on learning, to advisory tools to enhance fair grading at the individual level, as well as stability over time. After a brief introduction of the system and its various developments and challenges, the current presentation focuses on the issue of standard setting. For a number of years, this has been the responsibility of the different universities developing the tests, which has brought about certain differences regarding methods as well as outcomes. Lately, however, attempts have been made to develop a common framework for the tests, including procedures for setting standards. In the presentation, a brief report will be given of this on-going work, which is part of a general investigation of the Swedish national assessment system at large.