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  • 1.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research.
    Exploring mechanisms of peer effects in education: Frame factor analyses of classroom instruction2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite a vast international literature, previous research into compositional effects and peer effects in education has remarked on the lack of consensus within the field. To date, peer effects in education and students’ different opportunities to learn in school have been studied separately. In this thesis, it is argued that these perspectives need to be synthesized.

    In the thesis, Frame Factor Theory is employed as a theory of peer effects in classroom instruction. According to the theory, one mechanism generating peer effects is the steering and limiting effect that class composition has on teachers’ instruction. It is argued that this perspective also needs to be synthesized with the Opportunity to Learn-perspective, to widen our understanding of why different students meet different instruction and thus are given different opportunities to learn. The theoretical perspectives and empirical models are evolved through three empirical studies included in the thesis. The theoretical development and the empirical results from each study is discussed in an integrative essay in the thesis.

    The results indicate that class composition affects the presence of limitations on instruction and content coverage in instruction, both of which is related to students’ opportunities to learn and individual students’ achievement. Implications for future research and educational policy is discussed.

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  • 2.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research, Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Exploring mechanisms of peer-effects in education: a frame-factor analysis of instruction2023In: Educational review (Birmingham), ISSN 0013-1911, E-ISSN 1465-3397, Vol. 7, no 75, p. 1387-1405Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the educational literature on peer effects, attention has been brought to the fact that the mechanisms creating peer effects are still to a large extent hidden in obscurity. The hypothesis in the study reported in this article was that the Frame Factor Theory (FFT) can be used to reveal such mechanisms. Using data from the Swedish TIMSS 2015 (N = 3761 students in 179 classes), a multilevel structural equation model (M-SEM) was specified in accordance with the FFT. As predicted, the SEM-model verified a strong relationship between class composition and a latent variable of limitations on instruction, a variable which in turn had a great impact on individual students? results in TIMSS 2015. The study hereby seems to reveal a fundamental mechanism of peer effects and provides evidence for the FFT.

  • 3.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices. Lärarnas Riksförbund.
    Friskolorna: Vår tids differentieringsfråga2022In: Dagens ArenaArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    Ingress: Debatten om friskolorna är egentligen vår samtids diskussion om den fråga som dominerat svensk skolpolitik sedan slutet av 1800-talet: Differentieringsfrågan. Med ”differentiering” avses i skolpolitiska sammanhang, frågan om – när, hur, varför och på vilka grunder vi ska dela upp elever i olika skolor, studievägar, klasser, grupper eller nivåer. Det skriver Pontus Bäckström, Utredningschef på Lärarnas Riksförbund och doktorand i pedagogik.

  • 4. Bäckström, Pontus
    Hur påverkar förändrad elevsammansättning skolors resultat?2015In: Utbildning och Demokrati, ISSN 1102-6472, E-ISSN 2001-7316, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 55-72Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    How does changed composition of pupils affect school results?In 2012, The Swedish National Agency for Education published a study inwhich they examined how equivalence between Swedish primary schoolshas developed over time. The agency concluded that the equivalence haddeteriorated, mainly because of an increased between-school variancein results. The increased between-school variance was partly shown byexamining the increased gap between schools in which 20 % or more ofthe pupils didn’t meet the demands for passing on to secondary schooland schools where almost every pupil did. The first group has increasedsince year 2000 and consisted in 2011 of 231 schools. In this study theseschools are examined. The hypothesis that a significant change in pupilcomposition over time can explain deteriorated results is tested. The resultsshow that the schools have undergone a significant change in pupilcomposition. Mainly pupils born in Sweden by Swedish parents have leftthe schools. The majority of the schools are public schools. The changein pupil composition is strongly correlated with deteriorated results.

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  • 5.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Kamrateffekter i skolundervisning – En ramfaktorteoretisk analys2020Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the educational literature on peer effects, attention has been brought to the fact that the mechanisms creating peer effects are still to a large extent hidden in obscurity. The hypothesis in this study is that the Frame Factor Theory can be used to explain these mechanisms.

    At heart of the theory is the concept of “time needed” for students to learn a certain curricula unit. The relations between class-aggregated time needed and the actual time available, steers and hinders the actions possible for the teacher. Further, the theory predicts that the timing and pacing of the teachers’ instruction is governed by a “steering criterion group” (SCG), namely the pupils in the 10th-25th percentile of the aptitude distribution in class. The class composition hereby set the possibilities and limitations for instruction, creating peer effects on individual outcomes.

    To test if the theory can be applied to the issue of peer effects, the study employs multilevel structural equation modelling (M-SEM) on Swedish TIMSS 2015-data (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; students N=3761, teachers N=179). Using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in the SEM-framework, latent variables are specified according to the theory, such as “limitations of instruction” from TIMSS survey items. The results indicate a good model fit to data of the measurement model.

    The SEM-model verify a strong relation between the mean level of the SCG and the latent variable of limitations on instruction, a variable which in turn has a great impact on individual students’ test results.

    Thus, the analysis indicates a confirmation of the predictions derived from the frame factor theory and reveals that one of the important mechanisms creating peer effects in student outcomes is the effect the class composition has upon the teachers’ instruction in class.

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  • 6.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research, Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Peer effects in education: A synthesis of frame factor theory and opportunity to learn2023Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study draws on previous empirical research within the fields of opportunity to learn (OTL) and peer effects in education. In a recent study, it was argued that the Frame Factor Theory (FFT) could be applied as a theoretical framework to the issue of peer effects in education. Since the FFT predicts that the class composition measured as students’ prior knowledge and aptitude, will have steering and limiting effects on teachers’ instruction, in turn affecting students’ achievement, it was argued that this could be interpreted as one mechanism generating peer effects. Empirical findings from analysis of TIMSS 2015 data supported the hypothesis. Possibly due to poor construct validity, the previous study couldn’t verify the modus operandi of the mechanisms. The FFT predicts that the steering and limiting effect of class composition will affect timing, pacing, and content covered in instruction. From this perspective, the aim of this article is to initiate a synthesis of the OTL- and FFT-perspectives, where OTL-findings on content coverage are included in an FFT-model predicting peer effects in education.

    A synthesized theoretical model is operationalized and tested with Swedish TIMSS 2011 data (n = 3,928) in a multilevel structural equation model. The main FFT-construct in the study is a latent variable of “Limitations on instruction”, derived from items in the TIMSS teacher survey. Also, a variable of coverage of advanced content is derived from TIMSS 19 topics through assessments by Swedish eighth grade teachers in mathematics.

    The study revealed that class composition, measured as class-SES, to some extent was related to teachers’ instruction in class, through its limitations on instruction, but it was also related to the content that can be covered in instruction. Results reveal a negative relation between students’ average age of arrival to Sweden on the between-class level and advanced content covered. Through both of these effects, individual students’ achievement in mathematics is affected, indicating the presence of a peer effect. The results from the study thereby support previous findings on the steering and limiting effect of class composition on teachers’ instruction, as well as providing a new theoretical perspective on results from OTL-research. The results indicate that differences in students’ opportunities to learn-measured as content covered-to some extent is related to the steering and limiting effect class composition has upon teachers’ instruction. The results are discussed in both a historical and contemporary context.

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  • 7.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Peer effects in education: Theoretical synthesis and empirical estimation2022In: Education and involvement in precarious times: Abstract book, NERA Conference 2022 / [ed] Michael Dal, Reykjavík: School of Education, University of Iceland , 2022Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research, Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Peer effects in education: Theoretical synthesis of frame factor theory and opportunity to learn using TIMSS 20112023In: International Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0883-0355, E-ISSN 1873-538X, Vol. 121, article id 102229Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite a vast literature, previous research into compositional effects and peer effects in education has remarked on the lack of consensus within the field. To date, peer effects in education and students’ different opportunities to learn in school has been studied separately. In this study, it is argued that these perspectives need to be synthesized. A multilevel structural equation model (M-SEM) is derived from such a synthesis of the Frame Factor Theory (FFT) and Opportunity to Learn (OTL) and tested on Swedish TIMSS 2011-data (n=3928). The results indicate that class composition affects the presence of limitations on instruction and advanced content coverage, both of which is related to opportunities to learn and individual students’ achievement in mathematics.

  • 9.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Psykisk påfrestning och samvetsstress i lärares arbetsliv2021In: Arbetsmarknad & Arbetsliv, ISSN 1400-9692, E-ISSN 2002-343X, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 27-44Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As a group, teachers continually report high workload and psychological strain. The international literature has reported evidence of factors influencing teachers’ work environment, such as time pressure, demands, administration, emotional strain and disruptive behavior. Some of these factors have been verified in Swedish research, and differences have been reported between public and private schools. This study reports evidence that teachers’ psychological strain can be predicted by disruptive classroom behavior and stress of conscience. These factors were in turn related to school composition.

  • 10.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    School Composition, Disruptive Classroom Behaviour and Student Results: A Study of Mechanisms of Peer Effects2021In: Nordic Studies in Education, ISSN 1891-5914, E-ISSN 1891-5949, Vol. 41, no 2, p. 167-184Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study analyses whether disruptive classroom behaviour affects students’ results in Swedish lower secondary schools (N = 1704), measured by the schools’ grade point averages (GPA). The data, collected from the Swedish school authorities, comprises variables on schools’ pupil composition, classroom environment and student mean grades. Previous research has shown that disruptive classroom behaviour has a negative impact on students’ results. This study finds such effects. The effect size reported is equal to the reported GPA differences between boys and girls. Results show that some of the original effects of school compositional variables are mediated through disruptive behaviour.

  • 11.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research, Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Studiero genom reglering? En diskussion om att utvärdera en bred läroplansreform2022In: Utbildningsmiljö och utbildningsrätt – från förskola till forskarexamen / [ed] L. Lerwall, A. Nilsson & J. Novak, Uppsala: Iustus förlag, 2022, p. 35-46Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Från syftet: Likt så många andra reformer på skolans område infördes dessa läroplansförändringarpå bred front och samtidigt för hela grundskolan. Detta skapar problem när reformens effekter ska utvärderas, i och med att det inte finns några kontrollgrupper att jämföra med (IFAU, 2014; 2016).

    Syftet med denna artikel är därför att diskutera denna problematik genom att lämna ett tentativt metodologiskt förslag till hur en utvärdering ändå skulle kunna genomföras. Det metodologiska förslag som lämnas i artikeln är i sin tur förknippat med en rad mer eller mindre allvarliga problem. Dessa tillkortakommanden ska därför också betraktas som en generell notis om behovet av väldesignade försöksverksamheters återkomst till skolpolitiken (SOU 2014:12).

  • 12.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    The Mechanisms of Peer-Effects in Education: A Frame Factor Analysis2021Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An extensive body of literature in the economic sciences has focused upon peer effects in education, showing that peer effects exist (Yeung & Nguyen-Hoang, 2016; Ewijk & Sleegers, 2010). In this literature, attention has been brought to the fact that the mechanisms creating the peer effects are still to a large extent hidden in obscurity (Lazear, 2001; Rutter & Maughan, 2002). In this research, distinctions are made between employing exogenous or endogenous independent variables for explaining peer effects (Epple & Romano, 2011). Research using endogenous variables (i.e. measures of students’ aptitude, prior knowledge or behaviour) shed some light on the issue of mechanisms creating peer effects, for instance reporting on the importance of counteracting disruptive classroom behaviour as a means to decrease influence of negative peer effects on student outcomes (Lavy, Paserman, & Schlosser, 2011; Bäckström, 2020).

    The issue of peer effects is also addressed in educational sciences, but not as explicitly as in the economic sciences. In educational research it has been labelled as “contextual” or “compositional” effects (Dreeben & Barr, 1988). This literature investigates the peer effects in a wider scope, including issues such as why smaller classes would be better than large classes (Bourke, 1986; Blatchford et al, 2007) or how instruction is affected by class composition (Dumay & Dupriez, 2007; Hansson, 2011).

    In educational sciences, there has been a theoretical debate concerning whether teachers’ instruction is dependent or independent of class composition. Benjamin Blooms’ model of Mastery Learning argues that teachers’ instruction is (or should be) independent of class composition, whilst Urban Dahllöfs’ emerging frame factor theory suggest that it is dependent of class composition (Barr & Dreeben, 1977). If the latter is true, I argue that this must be interpreted as a peer effect on instruction, probably also causing peer effects on student results.

    The overall aim of the study presented in this paper is to test this argument, that the frame factor theory [ramfaktorteorin] (as later put forward by Ulf P. Lundgren, 1972) can be applied to the issue of peer effects.

    At heart of the theory is the concept of “time needed” for students to learn a certain curricula unit, as it was suggested by John Carroll (1963). The relations between class-aggregated time needed and the actual time available, steers and hinders the actions possible for the teacher according to the theory. The theory predicts that the timing and pacing of the teachers’ instruction is governed by a “criterion steering group” (CSG), namely the pupils in the 10th-25th percentile of the aptitude distribution in class. Previous studies of Dahllöf (1967; 1971), Lundgren (1972) and Beckerman and Good (1981) report evidence of this hypothesis. The class composition hereby set the possibilities and limitations for instruction, creating peer effects on individual outcomes.

    To test if the theory can be applied to the issue of peer effects, I employ multilevel structural equation modelling (M-SEM) on Swedish TIMSS 2015-data (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). Using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in the SEM-framework in MPLUS, I first specify latent variables according to the theory, such as “limitations of instruction” from TIMSS survey items. The results indicate a good model fit to data of the measurement model.

    The preliminary results from this ongoing study verify a relation between the mean level of the CSG and the latent variable of limitations on instruction, a variable which have a great impact on individual students’ test results. The analysis hereby confirms the predictions derived from the theory and reveals that one important mechanism creating peer effects in student outcomes is the effect class composition has upon the teachers’ instruction.

  • 13. Isaksson, Christer
    et al.
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Practice Based Educational Research, Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Bokslut: Lärarnas Riksförbund 2000—2022: Ett stycke svensk skolpolitisk historia2022Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Den här historieboken sammanfattar Lärarnas Riksförbunds verksamhet och utveckling under perioden efter millennie­skiftet. En tid präglad av skolans kommunalisering och av­reglering, av nya parts­förhållanden och ökad politisk styrning. 

  • 14.
    Öberg, Joakim
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Plats, Identitet, Lärande (PIL).
    Bäckström, Pontus
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Epistemic Cultures & Teaching Practices.
    Kanon eller inte kanon?: En enkätstudie bland samhällskunskapslärare i årskurs 7-92021In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, Vol. 11, no 2, p. 20-46Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the present study is to investigate whether social studies in compulsory school grades 7–9 can be perceived as having a clear canon regarding subject content, methods, used sources and examination methods. Previous research has suggested that social studies is unclear, vague and that it lacks a subject canon. The results of the present study points in both directions. On the one hand, the study shows that there is a clear core of content around which lower secondary social studies teaching revolves and a common foundation regarding how this content is mainly conveyed and examined. On the other hand, the study shows that there is also great variation between different teachers, variation that can be partly explained by the teachers' preferences. Different teachers seem to have different preferences when it comes to how they teach, what methods and sources they use and how sections are examined. For example, there are significant correlations between how teachers who use group-based methods also use group-based examinations. An important factor for the variation between teachers can be traced to gender. At group level, we see differences regarding male and female teachers based on subject matter, methods, sources and examination methods. In general, there is a common core for most social studies teachers, regardless of gender, but female teachers tend to cover a broader subject content, use a wider array of methods and sources and more varied forms of examination.

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