VIKTOR RYDBERG GYMNASIUM
Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium (VRG) was founded in 1994 as one of the first independent upper secondary schools in Sweden (free schools) after a change in Swedish law made this possible. The school, which is run by a non-profit foundation, has eight schools, four elementary schools and four high schools.
Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium (VRG) CEEB 794505
(Swedish upper secondary school, year 10-12)
Due to Covid 19 our students were taught online via Google Meet, Digiexam and Canvas from the middle of March until the end of the school year in June 2020, with no changes in schedules or course offerings. Teachers compared pre covid assessments and tests with post Covid tests and assessments, and could not detect any significant irregularities. There were no changes in grading scales and policies for grading, and there was no change in graduation requirements.
The number of extracurricular activities on offer has been heavily reduced within the campuses/schools and outside. After-school sports and committee activities were cancelled. Furthermore, exchanges to other countries were cancelled. Swedish summer research programs such as Rays for Excellence and Space research school (Rymdforskarskolan) were cancelled, as were many international programs our students were planning to attend.
More general information
Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium (VRG) was founded in 1994 as one of the first independent, non-profit, upper secondary schools (free schools) in Sweden after a change in Swedish law made this possible. Today, the school has four campuses, Djursholm, Jarlaplan, Odenplan and newly started Sundbyberg. The Viktor Rydberg foundation also runs three lower secondary schools. VRG follows the regulations set forth by The Swedish National Agency for Education Skolverket; this includes disciplinary policies. The school is financed through a national voucher system and we are by law only allowed to accept students based on their grades from year 9. Due to our popularity, high grades are required to get into all programs at VRG, and for the Natural Science programs at Odenplan perfect or near perfect average is usually required. To the Art and Performing Art programme at Jarlaplan students are admitted by both grades and audition or portfolio (50/50).
Worth mentioning is that VRG is ranked a top school in Sweden, with our graduating classes usually achieving one of the highest outgoing grades in the country. This means that most students graduating from our schools will be among the top in Sweden.
The schools offer a bilingual education in Swedish and English; this means that several of the teachers have English as their mother tongue and therefore teach in English, and that materials used in courses are in both Swedish and English. Furthermore, all English courses are taught by native speakers.
The school uses a block schedule and all students have their own laptops. ICT is an integral part of our courses, and teachers use Canvas, Digiexam and other digital tools.
As a continuous practice since the school was founded, normal classes are cancelled for two weeks every year, and students instead participate in group projects where a lot of emphasis is put on academic writing skills. Our former students tell us that this has been a big advantage to them when they continue to a higher education.
It should be specially noted that:
- VRG is very restrictive in allowing students to study more than the 2500 credits that are stipulated by the government.
- An E-grade is the only possible passing grade for the Diploma Project but requires more of the student than an E in other courses.
- The Swedish grading system looks a lot like the American one, but works on very different principles and thus should not be translated directly. (See explanation below.)
- Sweden uses an unweighted cumulative GPA on a 20 scale. The final grade in a course is set at the end of the course, usually at the end of the year. A few courses finish in January. No midyear grades are set.
In the Swedish system, there are normally no Honors classes or AP-classes. However, our Djursholm campus, as one out of only eleven schools in the country, has been approved to run a program akin to an AP-program in English in cooperation with Stockholm University, whereby the students take 15 university credits in English during their final high school year.
VRG is involved in the Model European Parliament and the European Youth Parliament. Our school also participates in Junior Achievement Sweden’s company program, and our students usually win awards in this competition. VRG-Odenplan’s student union won the best student union in Sweden award in 2017. VRG students have won the Swedish-America foundation’s prestigious Lawrenceville scholarship and the Augustana college scholarship on numerous occasions in the last 10 years.
The VR foundation has been selected by Nacka Municipality to run one of their elementary and lower secondary schools in a socially challenged area from August 2021.
VRG offers programs in the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, the Behavioral Sciences, Business-Economics, Art and Design and The Performing Arts (Dance, Theatre, and Music). All programs prepare the student for higher education, and are academically rigorous.
Students that graduate from Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium strive to achieve. Almost 100 percent of Viktor Rydberg students go on to study at university or other forms of higher education. Most of these students will go on to study at some of Sweden’s most prestigious universities; however, every year we have students applying to study abroad, mostly the UK and the US. As is common custom in Sweden, many of our students take a gap year after high school and wait with their applications to university until after they graduate from VRG.
Below are statistics based on current unweighted grade point averages (GPAs) for students in the graduating class of 2020 at all three VRG-campuses/schools combined (543 students), based on their senior transcripts. Also included are the national statistics (Source: Swedish National Agency for Education).
Sweden’s grading system is based on a twenty-point scale. Only 0.43% of students in Sweden studying a university preparatory program achieve a full GPA of 20 points. At VRG 1.2% achieved a full GPA last year, most of them Natural Science students.
Below are the statistics divided up by the three VRG campuses/schools
|School||Top 5%||Top 10%||Top 20%||Median|
Below is a table with examples of universities where our graduates have enrolled or been offered places this last year. Covid affected where students finally enrolled this autumn.
|Karolinska Institutet||University of Cambridge||Harvard University|
|Linköping University||Imperial||Georgetown University|
|Lund University||London School of Economics||Northeastern University|
|Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)||University College London||Denver university|
|Stockholm School of Economics, SSE||University of Exeter||Bocconi University|
|Stockholm University||University of Sheffield||University College Leiden|
|Uppsala University||University of Warwick||ESADE|
The most popular professions among our students are in business/economics, engineering, law, medicine and political science.
Supplement: Explanation of the Swedish Grading System
The Swedish grades are since July 1 2011 awarded on a scale from A to F. Pass grades are designated A, B, C, D or E, with A as the highest grade and E as the lowest. A failed grade is designated F. In each course, there are a set of national requirements that need to be satisfied for each grade. There are defined requirements for grades A, C and E. The Diploma Project can only be awarded a pass or a fail grade. This means that it can only be awarded an E or an F. Students are required to pass the Diploma Project to earn their diplomas. The Diploma Project is not included when calculating the grade point average. This system looks a lot like the American one but works according to very different principles, and thus should not be translated directly. (When asked to compare the Swedish grading scale to the American on the Common Application our imperfect translation is the following:
|Swedish Grades||American Grades|
The Swedish grading system in detail
In Sweden, the grading system is goal-related, meaning that student achievement is assessed in relation to the goals stated in the course syllabi, not in relation to a bell curve.
These new requirements are arguably more demanding than the pre-2011 IG-MVG system, and because of this the Swedish government introduced a special entry group to Swedish universities between 2014 and 2017 so that students studying under the new more demanding A-F scale would not be disadvantaged. Students are now required to reach all the knowledge requirements at an excellent level to receive an A, while an MVG could be achieved by a student even if he or she did not live up to all requirements but did very well in some requirements. In fact, a new B would probably, in many if not most cases, have qualified for an MVG in the old system. The criteria or requirements have also become more clearly spelled out and there is a core content that must be taught.
Upper secondary students in Sweden study a three-year program, giving them a total of 2500 credits. VRG is very restrictive in allowing students to study more than the 2500 credits that are stipulated by the government. Subjects are divided into courses. Depending on the length of each course they are either 50, 100 or 150 credits. Grades are given for each course completed; students are thus continuously graded throughout their three years.
There are no final exams. Minimum requirements in order to achieve the Swedish upper secondary qualification “Gymnasieexamen” that qualifies students for university studies is a grade in courses totaling 2500 credits with a passing grade in 90% of these, including a passing grade in Swedish 1-3, English 5 and 6, and Math 1b or c, and passing the Diploma Project. It should be noted that an E is the maximum grade for the Diploma project.
At the end of the upper secondary school program, students receive a leaving certificate which lists all completed courses and the grade for each one. As the grade means the student has met the grade criteria, in theory the whole class could achieve the same grade. Therefore, students cannot be ranked 1st or 5th in their class, and no other ranking system exists.
Sweden does use an unweighted cumulative GPA on a scale of 20. An A = 20, B = 17.5, C = 15, D = 12.5 E = 10 and F = 0. These figures are multiplied by the number of credits for the course. These scores are then added and the total is divided by the total number of credits. Thus, a student with A in all courses will have a GPA of 20.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about the Swedish school system and the current grade requirements.