Democratic Values in Evaluation Systems – A Circle That Can Be Squared?

Malin Benerdal, Magnus Larsson


This paper is concerned with the interlocking of democratic values and evaluation systems. A central issue in evaluation has been adherence to democratic values by speaking truth to power or taking an inclusive approach to evaluands. In parallel with these democratic endeavours, evaluation design has increasingly moved from ad-hoc evaluations toward evaluation systems. The question we raise in this paper is how compatible the democratic endeavours of evaluation are with the rise of evaluation systems as the modus operandi. We apply this question to the case of the Swedish school system and its built-in evaluation system: systematic quality work (SQW). In order to explore the research question, school principals were asked to articulate how the democratic mission is visible in their SQW. The results indicate that prominent managing logics at different school levels seem to affect how well democratic values are incorporated into the SQW, highlighting the need to address the institutional and governing setting of evaluation systems in combination with the actors’ roles and decisions in accordance with the democratic evaluation literature.

Full Text: PDF

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413