Current Research projects:
Turnaround schools constitute those schools that manage to break a long-term pattern of underachievement in terms of schooling outcomes. This project explores the process of school improvement from an organizational perspective. Using a set-theoretical approach we examine complex causal solutions underlying the school development process from poorly performing to more well-functioning in terms of pupil achievement, adjusted for sociodemographic background conditions. A set-theoretical analysis of two samples of Swedish schools followed over 9 years is combined with in-depth case analyses to shed light on the necessary and sufficient conditions for school turnarounds.
The Effectiveness of School Inspections
The goals for accountability systems in education often go beyond legal compliance and are also tasked with improving the performance of the education system. The effect of school inspection visits for school performance is unknown and complicated by methodological issues. We examine the Swedish School Inspectorates' effectiveness using a quasi-experimental matching method to gain novel insights on the effectiveness of school inspection on school performance.
- Working environments in schools.
Schools’ work environment is vital for students’ educational choices and outcomes, and frequently highlighted a key factor that parents assess when considering school choice. In this project we use rich longitudinal data from Statistics Sweden, the Swedish National Agency for Education, the Swedish School Inspectorate and the Swedish Work Environment Authority to study changes in schools’ work environment over time, regional differences and differences across types of schools, and analyze to what extents work environment is exogenously induced by neighborhood effects in schools’ vicinity or whether they can be endogenously affected by schools’ organization and leadership.
- Teacher Social Capital: professional learning and student achievement. Teacher social capital is the wealth of relationships embedded in teachers' meaningful interactions with peers that contribute to a diverse set of instrumental and expressive outcomes: professional development, implementation of changes, improved induction, retention, and job satisfaction of teachers, enhanced student achievement and educational equity. The project focus on the role of organisational structures for facilitating social capital among teachers, both in terms of who they form and maintain ties with and what expertise they can access and share. The project uses structural equation modelling to analyse data from Swedish secondary schools gathered through teacher surveys and student achievement data. The project contributes to educational and organisational research on school organisational structures, social capital, and student outcome.
- Leadership and followership in schools.
We study teachers’ ratings of their principals’ instructional leadership in a large sample of schools over a 10-year period. Data is acquired from two Swedish school agencies: the Swedish National Agency of Education and the Swedish School Inspectorate. The goal is to examine the long-term effects of principals’ instructional leadership on school-level (staff stability, sickness absence, etc.) and student-level (grades and graduation rates) outcomes.
- Administrators or leaders – the role of school’s governance scope for principals’ leadership scope and leadership effectiveness.
- Governance in idea-driven schools. This project compares the governance of idea-driven civil society organization engaged in primary education in Sweden and Wisconsin (US), where civil society governance is still largely a ‘missing link’ in the long governance chain from taxpayers and legislators to the actual provision of primary education, where different forms of civil society actors are becoming more frequent.
- Peer effects in education. Peer effects - both positive and negative - have been identified among children adolescents and adults in all types of educational settings; kindergartens, primary and secondary education, higher education and adult learning. The literature highlights peer effects as potentially stronger regarding non-achievement related behaviors such as school absence or substance abuse, but are apparent also for educational achievement outcomes. While the lion's share of studies to date assumes linearity in peer effects (the group's average behavior or average performance improves' the performance of a focal student), there is an active debate regarding positive or negative peer effects, regarding the appropriate functional form for modeling various types of peer effects, and regarding the symmetry of peer effects (i.e. whether below-average students gain more from stronger peers than stronger peers lose, or vice versa). Through rich observational data we analyze how peers in students’ family and neighborhood background and school settings influence their educational choices and outcomes as well as subsequent labor market attachment.
- Mentorship in education. Students’ motivation, homework, and educational aspirations are strongly related to their educational outcomes and choices. Through interventions aimed at facilitating the study motivation, homework, and educational aspirations among students – especially those from groups underrepresented in higher education – we outline, test, and evaluate various interventions in the form of mentorship by older students or professionals.
- Educational aspiration, college choice and intergenerational inequality.