Digital exams in Swedish schools: A success story of Lund Municipality

Anja Sisarica
July 24, 2019

In this blog post, we are proud to share with you the experiences from Lund Municipality, one of the pioneers of e-assessment in Sweden, and our trusted partner. Read on to learn about the benefits Lund have achieved with Inspera Assessment, strategies for adoption among teaching staff and insights gained.

About Lund Municipality

Lund Municipality (Lunds kommun) is located in southern Sweden’s Skåne county, and represents a progressive example of the implementation of governmental educational policies, from pre-school to university. Lund has a population of about 122 000, out of which 47 000 are university students, which reflects the municipality's longstanding tradition of, and commitment to education. Furthermore, there are about 35 000 students in Lund Municipality in pre-university education, as many of the 33 surrounding municipalities in Skåne send their upper secondary pupils to Lund. Open-minded and forward-looking, this community has been embracing EdTech and e-assessment from an early age, in order to foster continuous learning.


Cathedral of Lund, one of the main sights in the municipality of Lund

In March 2017, The municipality of Lund decided to tender for a digital exam solution for all of Lund's primary, secondary, upper secondary and further adult education institutions, currently supporting about 15 000 pupils (10 000 in Year-10 to adult education, and 5 000 in Years 6 - 9), and 1 300 teaching and administrative staff. Inspera was awarded the contract and a full roll-out started in April 2018 with the delivery of national tests in Swedish, English, and Mathematics. Today, all of the Year-10 to adult education students in the municipality have access to Inspera Assessment and have used it in their classrooms for assessment in all subjects, not only for national tests. Partial implementation is reached in Years K-9, with plans for expansion. Inspera Assessment is used both on school devices (Chromebook, iPad, PC, Mac), and in Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) mode, with BYOD mode being predominant in the secondary school education.

We spoke to Pernilla Svensson, ICT Coordinator and Systems Administrator at Lund Municipality. In addition to assessment, Lund’s ICT Coordination Team is successfully leading multiple projects in relation to learning platforms, cloud services, and enterprise mobility management. The role of Coordinators, such as Pernilla, is to centrally oversee the work of the ICT Teams and teachers at school-level, and align the tools and frameworks used in EdTech support.

Motivation & objectives for introducing digital exams

The following key objectives were set for Inspera Assessment implementation:

  • Improve security and prevent cheating;
  • Increase diversity of question types offered in assessment;
  • Provide assessment access for all student profiles;
  • Have low system maintenance requirements for the ICT Team;
  • Allow integration with other systems, such as single-sign-on (SSO).

Benefits for students:

  • Consistent and unified view for all students across the municipality in order to achieve fairness in assessment (e.g. “Google Suite has many add-ons and extensions to make it consistent”, as Pernilla adds);
  • Continuity in education, as the same assessment tool is being used from Year 6 to adult education.

Benefits for teachers:

  • Remote access to all assessments from one place;
  • Integration between the internal LMS system (Vklass) and Inspera Assessment, allowing data flow between formative and summative assessments and richer student profiles;
  • Increased productivity, with less time spent on document imports and assessment planning, delivery, and marking;
  • More assessment options with digital questions types, especially in STEM subjects.

Benefits for municipality and schools:

  • Municipality-level centralisation and standardisation;
  • GDPR compliant archiving;
  • Predictable costs;
  • Relationship with the supplier in development and support;
  • Improved security and easier software updating with a more modern lock-down browser, Inspera SEB.

Implementation tips & lessons learned

The first implementation phase was planned and executed in April 2018, when delivery of national tests was due in Swedish, English, and Mathematics for Years 10-12 and adult education, using the Essay question type in Inspera Assessment. The first national tests were delivered over the course of 4 days, with about 1 250 students taking the exams per day, with 5 schools participating. 

All teachers across the municipality received training at the time, until August 2018, and the decision was made that only ICT Team staff were to be given access to Inspera Assessment in order to plan and deliver the exams in the initial implementation phase. Even though the teachers wanted to start using the platform earlier, this was delayed until the Autumn Term of 2018 to ensure the proper training was delivered first, in collaboration with Inspera. According to Pernilla,

“This was a really good decision, because the teachers became curious and all doubts were gone thanks to taking time for the proper training. It was quite a success”.

According to teachers’ reports, the implementation was most successful among the language subjects (i.e. Swedish, English, German, Spanish) subjects, while there are challenges in subjects that are very hands-on in nature (i.e. Physical Education, Arts and Crafts). Monthly meetings are held with different stakeholder groups: i) Principals and Vice Principals (10 school representatives); ii) ICT staff (12 school representatives). Those meetings are held according to age group. One is Year 10 to adult education, the other is K-9 education, as there are separate governmental policies referring to these two age groups in the Swedish education system.

Two key lessons learned from the implementation so far include:

Being open-minded about Inspera Assessment had a great return on investment, as Pernilla says:

“It is not always an easy-to-learn tool, but once you get your head around it and take time to absorb, it is a really powerful and creative tool. We feel like we are growing with the system, so we are happy to recommend it”;

Pernilla concludes:

“The way we excluded the teachers in the beginning, until we showed them everything that is possible with Inspera Assessment, won us crucial support later on. Help from Inspera at the start, when we first rolled out the national tests, was a big success factor”.

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