Dokumenterat utanförskap : Om skolbarn som inte når målen

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines school activity in a medium-sized Swedish municipality 1996?2005 focusing on the parts of the activity that deal with support measures for pupils with school difficulties. The purpose of the study is to examine the assessment of pupils? school difficulties in a longer perspective, considering pupils? subjective experiences and consequences of the school's organisation and working methods. The theoretical starting point is G. H. Mead's and E. Goffman's interactionist explanatory models in which knowledge development is defined as relational processes. Here, motivation and experience of meaning are central concepts for the understanding of an individual's cognitive development. Interactionism has been one of the leading topics in the debate about school issues in the last few years due to a newly awakened interest in L Vygotskij's theories, and the current curriculum (Lpo 94) is based on the idea that it is in interaction between individuals that development of knowledge occurs. There are many, sometimes contradictory, explanatory models and ideas on ways of working in school, so the choice of methods and measures is seldom straightforward. A central part of the theoretical presentation is questions on perspectives and conflicts between different perspectives. The occurence of different perspectives has become more pronounced while at the same time the activity has broadened when it comes to scope and task. School activity now covers the entire period of growing up and not just the traditional ?school age? from the age of seven, while the task has expanded in conjunction with a changed approach to knowledge. The concept of school difficulties has taken on a wider meaning, and remedial efforts in school are increasingly related to the difficulties that members of staff judge to be behavioural or social problems rather than actual learning difficulties. The altered implication of the concept has had consequences for the task of school in the matter of support measures. A school's increased responsibility for the individual's knowledge development combined with the wider view of knowledge and support efforts has contributed to a medicalization, i.e. an increased interest in biological explanations for school difficulties. The boundary between the activity of school and other organisations has become less clear, which means that relations between professional groups are complicated, as are matters of decision and responsibility, and school's fundamental profession, the pedagogic activity, runs the risk of being neglected. The empirical basis is a combination of qualitative and quantitative data tied to an individual municipality, following 77 pupils who do not make the grade and results of tests and grades throughout the school years. The study also uses statistics, school documents and interviews with pupils and school personnel. The study shows that the reasons behind insufficient grades are complex, as are the processes of assessment and grading. Despite greater insistence on continuous individual follow-up and planning of measures for pupils with inadequate knowledge, the proportion of pupils who are judged to have school difficulties and who leave compulsory school with incomplete grades has increased. The variations that been found over time in grades and test results on an individual level indicate that both assessment and effects are variable and hard to predict. What is clearer is the connection between grades and the pupil's socio-economic background measured at school level. Here, the differences between schools have increased. In spite of the fact that school activity, and above all the immediate support activity, is thought to compensate for pupils? different conditions and thus guarantee social justice, a reinforcement of the effects of background factors seem to have occurred. There is a risk that the importance of social background factors and relational dimensions is neglected due to a one-sided focus on individual development. The results of the interviews show that factors such as belonging and other people's expectations have a strong affect on motivation and study results. The documented and goal-steered way of working has resulted in defining conditions and setting boundaries. In so doing we see criteria for belonging and a line between "us" and "them", those who pass and those who do not - a sense of exclusion for those pupils who do not make the grade.

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