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Basic information
Project manager: Bitte Modin
Period: 2013-10 – 2017-12
Funding: Forte
Project members: Viveca Östberg (CHESS), Sara Brolin Låftman (CHESS), Anders Hjern (CHESS)

Project description
The structural changes that have taken place within the Swedish school system during the past two decades has raised concerns of whether an increased sorting of students along socioeconomic and ethnic lines are taking place, where schools in areas with limited resources become increasingly ”drained” of students in more favorable social situations. This development is bound to affect the quality of teaching and learning unevenly across Swedish schools, and may ultimately manifest itself as a clustering of stress-related ill health in the adversely affected schools, involving both teachers and students.

The aim of this research project is, firstly, to investigate whether indicators of “effective schools” is linked to students’ school performance and psychological health. Here we have carried out a new data collection among 9th grade teachers in Stockholm to identify certain school-level characteristics that cannot be captured by information provided by students (e.g. teacher ratings of school leadership; stress-level and turnover rates among teachers). Secondly, we will explore ‘contrasting contexts’ to the Swedish school setting. China constitutes a relevant contrast to Sweden in terms of school bullying considering the huge disparity in rates that exists between these countries, whereas Finland stands out as a suitable comparison to Sweden when it comes to school performance considering the striking disparities between these, school-system wise relatively similar, countries in terms of their performance in the PISA-surveys.

We will carry out a series of comparative studies emphasizing such country-specific contrasts by looking at the importance of school conditions and social background for students’ performance and health using large scale data materials. An increased knowledge in this field can be useful in promoting health and supporting children at risk, and will contribute to the understanding of how the school can act as a health promoting institution.