Swedbank study on the quality of education and best practice


In order to invest in the development of an educated, intellectual and motivated society  and to promote the understanding and the demand for high quality and contemporary education, Swedbank cooperated with Dynamic University Ltd. to analyse the concept of education quality, to examine the best practice in the field from all over the world, and to identify and develop a progressive and multidimensional self-assessment tool.    

During the six-month period, from February to August 2016, Dynamic University Ltd. has completed the study “Monitoring of the General Education Quality in Latvia and Abroad” and has developed a methodology for identification, assessment and promotion of the best practice applied by the teachers, schools and organisations supporting education sector in Latvia.


The task involved several stages: feasibility study, research, development of the methodology and development of the presentations.

During the research following methods were used:

  • Focus group with parents and pupils;
  • Interviews with the experts, policy makers and those responsible for the policy implementation (incl. representatives of the Ministry for Education and Science and State Education Quality Service), municipalities (Liepāja, Ventspils, Sigulda);
  • Focus groups with the representatives of the school leadership nominated by the Association of Latvian Education Leaders, teachers nominated by the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees and the graduates of the Programme “Mission Possible”;
  • Analysis of the best foreign practice and Latvian school quality assessment framework. It helped to recognise the current situation, needs of the users and stakeholders, as well as the local and international trends and practices.

The study gives an insight in the existing monitoring system of the general education in Latvia and abroad (Finland, United Kingdom, USA and Hong Kong), particularly emphasising the indicators of the education quality, self-assessment framework and external assessment of educational institutions.

The conclusions of the research stage can be divided into four groups:

  • Education quality: the understanding of the indicators of education quality vary among the respondents; the education quality criteria suggested by the parties involved match with the seven school self-assessment areas indicated by the state; more attention has been paid to the formal criteria such as results of the centralised exams (quality as a set result) than the potential and the growth of each pupil (quality as a process).
  • Self-assessment of schools: self-assessment skills vary among schools; accredited schools are predominantly marked as “good” or “very good”, indicating lack of critical self-assessment; recommendations of the accreditation experts are mostly provided to weaker schools; no single platform for accessing and comparing the self-assessment of schools is available.
  • External assessment: the aim of the external assessment / ratings developed and used in Latvia is not to provide information in order to ease the decision of parents and pupils regarding the choice of the school.
  • Foreign practice: in the countries with high education quality feedback from the monitoring institutions is provided; high quality education system is based on continuous self-assessment and accomplishment facilitation of the pupils (progress measurement, polls, individualised reports, recommendations); in two of the countries examined (Finland and Hong Kong) no school ratings are in place, while they are widespread in USA and United Kingdom; the self-assessment criteria of Latvian schools are similar to the indicators of the countries reviewed, however the depth of the criteria differ.

The conclusions of the study led to amendments to the initial purpose to develop a multidimensional school rating. It encouraged the idea for a broader discussion in the society regarding the importance of high quality and contemporary education, the role of the teacher and the image of the profession.

Together with a number of the field experts, a platform has been created. It aims to inspire the society and the education professionals to be more involved in providing contemporary and accessible education to every child. In order to achieve this a set of large-scale activities and events will be carried out within the within the framework of Swedbank education programme “Prepared for life”. It will disclose and promote achievements and facilitate sharing experiences including examples of best practice and emphasising not only the results but also inspiring examples and achievements as well as supporting daring and sustainable decisions of individuals and organisations.

In order to verify the need and viability of the platform, several pilot projects have been carried out to test and to improve the initiative.