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Understanding Transnational Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Making in Local Municipal Arenas: The Case of Sweden

Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts

ISBN: 978-1-83867-738-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-735-0

Publication date: 20 January 2021

Abstract

In this chapter, the interest is directed towards how transnational policy messages (supra-level) can be tracked down through analyses of curriculum policy discourses at the national (macro-level) and municipal level (meso-level) in the Swedish school system. Drawing on discursive institutionalism, and organizational and institutional theory, we analyse central policy messages in the introduction of the national Swedish standards-based curriculum reform for compulsory school from 2011, focusing on discourses of communication between local authorities (meso-level) and schools (micro-level) within their area of responsibility for curriculum making. Two main features emerge. The local curriculum reform agenda is significantly shaped by the argument that explicit standards together with systematic governance through evaluation and accountability will increase students' performance. The second feature underlines strong accountability as a prerequisite for equity and equivalence and the importance of the local school authority for the organization of schooling, structural support and interventions for curriculum making in schools. Equity and equivalence are a challenge for the local authorities. They have problems to support curriculum making which tends to create considerable variations in how the curriculum reform is enacted in the different schools of the municipality.

Keywords

Citation

Alvunger, D. and Wahlström, N. (2021), "Understanding Transnational Curriculum Policies and Curriculum Making in Local Municipal Arenas: The Case of Sweden", Priestley, M., Alvunger, D., Philippou, S. and Soini, T. (Ed.) Curriculum Making in Europe: Policy and Practice within and Across Diverse Contexts, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-245. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-735-020211011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Mark Priestley, Daniel Alvunger, Stavroula Philippou and Tiina Soini