26 SES 13 B, To Learn from Similarities and Variations - Country Specific Research on Principals Role, Work and Leadership 1
The Swedish view of their schools and students learning has changed during recent year. From the mid 1960-thies student influence, thematic work and values have been central together with basic knowledge. The focus has the last two decades shifted towards more subject knowledge and academic results. This has affected the expectations on principals and their work. Research that include principals leadership has mainly started in an interest for effectiveness and school improvement processes, school culture and implementation of national and local policies were principals are one of the actors. We can conclude that principals have been studied indirectly more often than there has been explicit studies about principals’ role in governing schools. Mainly the studies have been small qualitative cases studies built on a bottom-up perspective. Almost all studies are done in compulsory schools even though Sweden has an diverse active school market with many independent schools since the mid 1990-thies. Even if there is a limited amount of research there is more research about Swedish schools and their leadership today than ever before. Some recent studies compare Swedish principals, superintendents and school boards in an international perspective. These studies are based on questionnaires and interviews with large national samples.
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