Using hierarchical linear models to test differences in Swedish results from OECD’s PISA 2003: Integrated and subject-specific science education

  • Maria Åström Mid Sweden University and Linköping University
  • Karl-Göran Karlsson Mid Sweden University


The possible effects of different organisations of the science curriculum in schools participating in PISA 2003 are tested with a hierarchical linear model (HLM) of two levels. The analysis is based on science results. Swedish schools are free to choose how they organise the science curriculum. They may choose to work subject-specifically (with Biology, Chemistry and Physics), integrated (with Science) or to mix these two. In this study, all three ways of organising science classes in compulsory school are present to some degree. None of the different ways of organising science education displayed statistically significant better student results in scientific literacy as measured in PISA 2003. The HLM model used variables of gender, country of birth, home language, preschool attendance, an economic, social and cultural index as well as the teaching organisation.