Education Coalition calls for overhaul of learning and assessment processes: 'Systems level, more clarity needed'

Considering the results of the National Assessment simulations and the PISA tests, the “Education Coalition” federation calls for a review of the learning and assessment processes.

The education coalition wants a review of learning and assessment processes – Photo Archive

The summary published by the Ministry of Education shows that in Mathematics 60% of the students did not get grade 5, and over 80% are below grade 7. On the other hand, in Romanian Language, the situation is “relatively better“: only 26% got grades below 5, but 57% got grades below 7.

As we found last summer, after the National Assessment of 2023, if in the Romanian language there is a tendency to formulate subjects towards the formation of competences, with subjects closer to international PISA-type tests, in Mathematics a clear need is revealed of curricular reform to make this discipline more relevant, applicable in real life and more motivating. We remind you that in the 2022 PISA test, in the mathematics test, 49% of the 15-year-old students in Romania did not reach the basic competence level, which illustrates the low quality of education“, emerges from a press release sent by the federation, according to Agerpres.

At the same time, the organization raises an alarm signal on the growth of “degree of inequity” regarding the results depending on the social, economic and cultural status of the parents. Because PISA testing showed that “a small percentage of disadvantaged students” managed to obtain good results. Also, in the National Assessment exam of 2023, almost 40% of students from rural areas had an average below 5, compared to 14% in urban areas.

This is why the federation calls for an equitable education system that promotes authentic learning and the development of skills according to the profile of the graduate, as well as for continuous evaluation “formative and standardized“, which emphasizes the progress made by each student in terms of developing skills. More than that, “high-stakes exams“, in its current form, “they only put excessive pressure on both the children and the teachers“. Furthermore, this inadequate approach “further encourages focus only on exam subjects and meditation industry“, says the federation.

At the system level, more clarity and consistency is needed so that assessment serves to provide personalized feedback to students and to create personalized and realistic intervention plans to achieve and highlight individual progress for each student, de- throughout the years of compulsory education. In Romania, unfortunately, the national tests along the way (2nd, 4th and 6th grade assessments), where an approach closer to that of the PISA tests, with an emphasis on competences (understanding as a sum of knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to real life), are still not capitalized in this sense. In the context of curriculum reform, there should be a link between the National Assessment exam at the end of the 8th grade and the respective tests“, the statement says.

The Coalition for Education Federation also supports the rethinking of the transition mechanism from gymnasium to high school, through which “to put emphasis on the student's portfolio and less on high-stakes exams“. And it highlights the need for some “concrete progress” in terms of curriculum, interdisciplinarity and continuous teacher training, among others.