Tag Archives: testing

Australia

Principals warned off test boycott
Topsfield, J.  The Age (15 May 2012)

Principals have been warned not to encourage students to boycott NAPLAN, the standardized tests for Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 in reading, writing, language conventions, and numeracy.  Opposition to the test has been building, as groups like Say No to NAPLAN have expressed concerns about the examinations.  The move to boycott by principals takes advantage of provisions in the program that “the tests are not compulsory and parents have the right to withdraw their children on the grounds of philosophical objections or religious beliefs.”  The testing authority’s response to this tactic:  “Parents do have the right to withdraw their children from the tests, but we emphasise that principals are not to actively encourage students not to participate,” adding that ”we would consider that quite inappropriate for obvious reasons.”

Austria

Governor of Austrian province suggests including PISA results in students’ general grades
Der Standard (17 April 2012)

In order to increase student motivation for PISA tests, Josef Pühringer, the Governor of the Province of Upper Austria, suggests including PISA test results in students’ general grades. He believes this would lead to higher test scores because the problem with Austria’s PISA results, in his view, is one of student motivation rather than weak student knowledge and competences.  (Find more about Austria’s performance on PISA in relation to other nations here and here.)

China

College Entrance Examination Changes: Evaluator will utilize computers during marking (in Chinese)
Li, L.X.  Shanxi Daily News (12 April 2012)

Shanxi Province will be introducing a new platform for teachers to evaluate students’ College Entrance Examination scripts. All answer scripts will be scanned and teachers will evaluate the scripts via computer. The Chinese College Entrance Examination has always been a hot topic in education reform discussions. Refer to the special issue of Chinese Education and Society (45:1) for more context on the processes, challenges, and opportunities for education reform in China over the past 30 years.

Austria

Fuss over a standardized school leaving exam (in German)
Die Presse (10 March 2012)

Austria will introduce a reform to standardize the important Grade 12 school leaving exam (known as the Matura) which allows students to enroll in universities. The reform increases the minimum passing grade to answering 60 percent of the test correctly.  The minimum passing score had been 50 percent.  Because of the higher minimum passing grade, many students have failed the exam pre-test.  Teachers are also protesting the law, insisting that it reduces their freedom in examining their students.  The Ministry of Education, however, argues that the reform will ensure quality, objectivity, fairness and comparability to the Matura.

Japan

Over 80% of Public Schools Will Participate in National Academic Achievement Test (in Japanese)
Sankei News (8 March 2012)

The Education Ministry announced that 81.2% of public schools in Japan expressed interest in participating in the nation-wide academic achievement test. The test will be administered to 6th and 9th graders on April 17. The national academic achievement test had not been administered for 43 years, from 1966 to 2008. However, since its reintroduction in 2009, the participation rate has been gradually increasing.

Germany

Debate about the comparability of school leaving examinations (in German)
Spiegel Online  (6 March 2012) 

German education ministers are debating students’ school leaving exams. Until now, every state has had its own tests depending on each state’s formal curriculum. Some ministers now want to make school leaving examinations comparable for all states. Other ministers charge that this would result in great changes and problems (e.g. all pupils having exams on the same day). All ministers agree, however, that there have to be comparable educational standards. The first results of this policy debate may be decided at the conference of the ministers happening in the near future.