Trial with academic elite programmes in the comprehensive upper-secondary education in Sweden: a case study

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


Sweden has a long tradition of comprehensive upper-secondary education. This began in the early 1970s. It culminated in 1994 with all the programmes having a core curriculum that gave general eligibility to higher education. Conservative and liberal governments have introduced several neoliberal school reforms, which the subsequent social democratic government has done little or nothing to change. In 2009, the government initiated a trial with academic elite programmes. The aim of this article is to analyse how and why the elite programmes translated into and transformed local school practices as they did. The study builds on interview and questionnaire data from school principals, university teachers, upper-secondary teachers and students involved in the programmes that started in 2010, and questionnaire and interview data from students that graduated from the programmes that started in 2009. The results show that programmes failed to recruit the target group, that relatively few students used the opportunity to specialise, and that the new programmes replaced previously developed local systems for support of the academically most able. The schools used the trial to strengthening their brand. The study confirms the need for ongoing development of the academic quality of the general upper-secondary education programmes.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Malmö University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Utbildningsvetenskap


Antal sidor21
TidskriftResearch Papers in Education
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 jul 10
Peer review utfördJa