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Prodromou comes forward with data for the four months – “They were implemented successfully”

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ΒγαΙνει μπρο&sigma ;τΕ με στοιχεΙα για τα τετρΕμηνα ο Προδρόμου-«Εφαρμόστηκαν επιτ&upsilon ;χoς»

The Minister of Education, Sports and Youth, Mr. Prodromos Prodromou, in his statements today at the Ministry regarding the new student evaluation system, stated that “it is really troubling that some people are still discussing and working against the evaluation in Secondary Education. Is the real issue the evaluation or is it what and how it is taught and whether the students achieve the desired learning outcomes?

Evaluation has always existed and must exist, said Mr. Prodromou, to note that, “what is it that has changed? With the new student evaluation system, we have a single, structured and uniform evaluation process for all schools, for all children. Because it is unified and composed, it can be better thought out and adapted to the data and the requests. The institution has already been implemented for three years, in high schools and technical schools. And it was successfully implemented. I would like to pose a crucial question to those who question and raise  constantly various objections.

  • In a month or so the high school children will have a written assessment in New Greek. Some will write and be graded 15-16, some others 19-20 and some 12-13. There will also be those who will write 8-9, 6-7 or sometimes below.
  • The issue is that for some children the assessment will be 7 or 8 and will they and their teachers know it and will the school know it too? This is a problem; If there is a problem, isn't it the level of knowledge itself and not the assessment that documents it?
  • If there was no assessment, would their knowledge and abilities be different?

Of course not all children have deficiencies. But where there is underperformance, the problem is knowing it? Or is it the deficiencies themselves?

And if they don't know it and we don't know it, how can there be an effort to correct it, an effort to improve it?

< u>Incomprehensible and incorrect claim that “the excellent were victimized”

It was heard that because of the four-month written assessment “excellent students failed and were victimized”. These days I even saw this claim being repeated in an article.

If something like this were to happen, it should worry us and worry us. Does it happen?

In the first written evaluation of the first quarter, in the 1st Lyceum, in 2019-20, we had among the students:

  • 9% with an evaluation of 17- 20 in New Greek,
  • 18% with a score of 17-20 in Mathematics (Orientation),
  • 17% with a score of 17-20 in Physics

And so on.

So many were those who were rated with the highest points. There were excellent ones and they were.

As there were in the written evaluations of the second quarter of 2020-21 and in the A' and B' Lyceum, but also last year, in 2021-22 in all three classes.< /p>

In the last, last year's second semester written evaluations among the students of the 1st Lyceum there were:

  • 20% with an assessment of 17-20 in New Greek,
  • 10% with an assessment of 17-20 in Mathematics (Orientation),
  • 18% with an assessment of 17- 20 in Physics (Orientation)
  • 15% with an evaluation of 17-20 in History.

While in the second year of high school:

  • 18 % with an assessment of 17-20 in Modern Greek,
  • 34 % with an assessment of 17-20 in Mathematics (Orientation),
  • 24 % with an assessment of 17-20 in Physics (Orientation)
  • 18% with an evaluation of 17-20 in History.

Accordingly also in the 3rd Lyceum:

  • 19% with an evaluation of 17-20 in Modern Greek,< /li>
  • 33 % with an assessment of 17-20 in Mathematics (Orientation),
  • 31 % with an assessment of 17-20 in Physics (Orientation)
  • 15 % with an assessment of 17 -20 in History.

In the four-month evaluation, 45% of the students had a score of 14-20/20 in New Greek. In Orientation Mathematics, the corresponding percentage was 49%.

Performance and ratios may vary from year to year and from one assessment to another. The fact remains that students with high performance and excellence emerge. In general, 15-30% were evaluated last year with scores of 17-20/20. How can one claim that the excellent were “victimized” or “failed”?

So there were excellent ones, just as there were others who were rated very well, let's say from 15 to 17 and so on.  Should some others have been excellent? Where does this come from?

It is a given that both excellence and assessment always have a relativity. While the results of a student may also change over time due to various factors.

Through the evaluation process, a distribution of performance emerges which, as happens in such cases, was more or less normal. If it was not, and wherever it appears that it is not, then a relevant discussion should be held.

But, the bottom line is that the claim “the elite were victimized”, is not verified. There were excellent ones.

To understand that the four-month evaluations do not add to the difficulty, we could compare the results with the other evaluations for which we have similar data, those of the Pancypriot Examinations. They are exams of a different nature, but even there some emerge as excellent. Over time we can see, even going back ten years, that in the Pancypriot Examinations we had a much lower percentage of excellent scores. With a score between 18 and 20 we had among students in Pancypriots:

  • In 2012  0.25% in Modern Greek and 0.53% in Mathematics
  • In 2016  0.72% in New Greek and 4.4% in Mathematics
  • In 2022  1.17% in Modern Greek and 5.93% in Mathematics

There is no need for stress or excessive pressure< /p>

We still hear talk of stress and pressure on children. They certainly have to make efforts, because as is well known “good efforts pay off”, but in no case is stress and pressure neither helpful nor desirable. Students who attend and follow the teaching during the four months have no particular reason to treat the written assessment at the end as a “big issue”, since it will record their performance and has a weight of only 20% in the whole year. Some students may feel that they need additional preparation for this assessment, but then they have the time to do so. Without any particular stress.

But why does this written assessment create additional stress?

Without the common four-month written assessment we would again have written assessments by their teachers, separately for each school , for each section, as we have always had. And those ratings were leading to the same result, a part of their overall rating. What changes?

Could it be that without the four-month written evaluation, there was no talk of “many competitions” again? Couldn't those competitions that determined their performance to some extent, if not handled properly, create anxiety again?

What should or shouldn't be done with the rest of the written exercises during the term, given that we now have the term written assessment, is another matter that can be discussed in order for everyone to adjust accordingly. And if, in some cases, it can be abused and there is a large number of such exercises – which is not necessary at the moment there is a four-month general examination – and contrary to instructions given by the Directorate of the Ministry, this is what must to be fixed. But one cannot fault the single written assessment of four months. I'm sure this applies to the few and not the many cases, because I'm sure most of our teachers have adapted and are adapting, since they know the reality of teaching better than anyone. More generally, however, this issue must be dealt with separately.

Conducting assessments – degree of difficulty

Are the quarterly written assessments more difficult or less well-tailored? From time to time comments are heard about this issue as well. These exams are prepared by the teachers themselves. They are similar to what they would examine in written exercises in class. Tutors are elite and experienced teachers who know well both the subject and the practice of teaching in the classroom. They are the teachers we have and who, by all accounts, are of a very satisfactory standard. In any case, it is the teachers who anyway – even without four-month evaluations – have the competence, but also the specialized knowledge, for the education of the children. Therefore, comments made in protest of their work cannot be accepted.

Both teachers and parents at home, but also the wider environment – including those who make public statements – should help children get used to an assessment process. If we want to live in a society where meritocracy will prevail, there will be accountability, excellence will be sought and leveling and strictness will be avoided.

It is not possible when in society we want meritocracy to ask for, for example, examinations for employment in the State, at the same time to avoid assessment at school. In other words, should the school set the opposite example?

A policy statement should also be made here:

We also want the public school to advance the effort and the pursuit of improvement. We also want the public school to promote and highlight excellence. And not just private education, where from the very beginning there are strict competitive entrance exams and private schools, as we know, welcome a large part of the best performing students. I do not wish to comment or judge the private education which fulfills its own role and is intended to exist. But when there can be procedures that promote excellence, why don't we want something similar in the public school?

Those who oppose evaluation in public education should realize that it is like condemning the public school to a subordinate role.

The issue of “matter” and the pedagogical approach of indicators adequacy

I also want to refer to the constantly recurring discussions about what and to what extent is taught and what is examined in assessments. The famous “matter”.

I counter, for now, that we should no longer talk about “amount of material”, since the analytic programs we operate are made in such a way that we aim at “proficiency indicators” and not at the “mastery” of a specific amount of material. I realize that this qualitative change in approach has not yet become common property. But we should keep trying because it is a change in the right direction. It also corresponds to the modern and tomorrow's world, where we should escape from the logic of “memorizing knowledge” and cultivate epistemological skills, complex and critical thinking.

For the sake of the discussion, however, let's stick to the terms that continue to be used, because they seem to have been established for a long time. The material that must be taught and therefore evaluated is provided by the Analytical Programs. It was not set either this year or last year and two years ago.

The management of this material, its distribution in the available time, etc. it is somewhat of a technical matter. A pedagogic technical issue that should not be up for debate and has no sense to be considered up for negotiation.

Each school year may show some marginal ups and downs, by a few days, in terms of the time available. In general, however, with the exception of the particular disruption with the pandemic, there are no such changes that we need to discuss and judge the “matter” from the outset. It cannot be a topic for discussion every year, on which either student organizations or organized parents or even teachers' unions will have an opinion and try to influence. It is a matter that should be handled professionally and responsibly by those who presumably have the best knowledge.

When, for example, I hear OELMEK commenting and being critical of what should be taught and, therefore, to be assessed by examination, I question:

  • “but aren't teachers – hundreds of teachers – the ones who defined the Analytical Program?” and
  • “aren't those who define, organize and give directions educators?” the inspectors and other officials of the Ministry?”.

They are educators! Why should we do another kind of handling while ignoring them?

For consultations to be made and for the Ministry to accept remarks from “combatant teachers” of the seat, this is not only acceptable, but in the last two school years for the first time done systematically.

But we can't start the same discussions every year like “there's a lot of material, we can't catch up”.

The Analytical Programs are designed in such a way that they bring the students to a level where they can to attend university. Can this change? If so, it should be organized and allocated in the time available, without much room for discussion.

Although here I will repeat that we should not talk quantitatively about “matter”, but reach the point of looking for whether some indicators of proficiency have been achieved and whether the corresponding skills are present to a satisfactory degree.

The fact that , the Analytical Programs may need to be revised and readjusted to new data, this is understandable. But it is something that must be done systematically, methodically and carefully and not with the “exam material” as a starting point.

Why, again, if we assume for the sake of discussion, that as we often hear “the material is a lot and they don't catch up”, then our problem is whether there will be an examination on the basis of this matter or maybe, much more, that we “don't catch up” matter that was considered appropriate to be covered? What is the essential and biggest issue that needs to be discussed? I think it's not the four-month evaluations.

In any case, we know that adjustments are made every year and an important part of the “material” is omitted and not included in the evaluations.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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