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Evaluation of The Literacy Lift

Research project The program, the Literacy Lift, mainly consists of a learning platform with 40 web-based literacy modules. Groups of teachers and a supervisor chose two modules to work with for one year according to a structured training model.

The National Agency for Education commissioned Umeå Centre for Evaluation Research to evaluate the program in a real-time evaluation in terms of its value for different stakeholders and effects on collegial learning, teaching and students’ literacy skills as experienced by teachers. A final report was presented in 2019.

Head of project

Anders Hanberger
Professor emeritus

Project overview

Project period:

2015-10-20 2019-08-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Applied Educational Science Research

Research area

Educational sciences

Project description

The government commissioned the National Agency for Education (NAE) to develop the Literacy Lift, a national teacher-training program, in 2013. The program started in 2015 and has been implemented at different school levels. It ended after the 2019–2020 school year for schools, but continues for preschool teachers. The program mainly consists of a learning platform with around 40 web-based literacy modules. Groups of teachers led by a supervisor worked with two modules for one school year according to a structured training model. As of 2020, Literacy Lift has reached around 25% of Swedish teachers in preschool, compulsory, and upper-secondary education. The program’s aim is to enhance teachers’ continuing professional development through what is called “collegial learning” in literacy, to improve teaching and, ultimately, students’ literacy and Sweden’s scoring on future PISA tests.

The NAE commissioned a group of researchers linked to Umeå Center for Evaluation Research to undertake a real-time evaluation of the Literacy Lift in 2015. The evaluation, designed as an objectives-oriented stakeholder evaluation, has presented 13 interim reports and a final report. In short, the evaluation shows that the program has helped enhance teachers’ knowledge of and insight into literacy and helped improve the teaching of literacy, but it has not achieved some of the program’s ambitious goals, such as improving all students’ literacy and improving Swedish students’ performance in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Nor has it succeeded in institutionalizing structures for continuing collegial learning and teaching about literacy in all subjects. Stakeholders in the program and evaluation comprise the previous and current government, the NAE, school owners, school principals, head teachers, and teachers/preschool teachers, reference group members, evaluators, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), and Swedish Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). How power issues manifest in this evaluation is discussed in an article (Hanberger, 2022).

Latest update: 2023-01-17