OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Netherlands 2014

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How can student assessment, teacher appraisal, school evaluation and system evaluation bring about real gains in performance across a country’s school system? This review report for the Netherlands provides, from an international perspective, an independent analysis of major issues facing the Dutch evaluation and assessment framework in education, current policy initiatives and possible future approaches. This series forms part of the OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes.



School education in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has one of the OECD’s most devolved education systems, with schools enjoying a high degree of autonomy. School autonomy is grounded in the principle of “freedom of education”, which gives the right to any natural or legal person to set up a school and to organise teaching. This constitutional arrangement puts public and private schools on an equal footing, with all schools receiving public funding, provided that they meet the requirements for schools in their sector. While “freedom of education” implies that schools are free to determine the content and methods of teaching, the central government sets learning objectives and quality standards that apply to both public and private schools. The Inspectorate of Education monitors school quality and compliance with central rules and regulations. Current policy priorities include promoting excellence among students and schools, raising teacher professionalism and enhancing resultsoriented work in schools. Evaluation and assessment are key elements in the drive to achieve these goals, as reflected in recent laws on student assessment making it mandatory for primary schools to implement regular student monitoring systems as well as a standardised end-of-primary test.


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