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.



Student assessment

Student assessment in the Netherlands is largely the responsibility of schools and classroom teachers, supported by well-developed standardised assessment tools. The Dutch education system has rich resources and expertise in assessment design, development and administration. There has been strong attention to reaching high quality standards and investing in continuing improvements to central tests. The assessment framework relies on a balance between teacher-based and central assessments, with a recent focus on clarifying reference levels for student learning and strengthening “results-oriented work” in schools. There is an extensive system of formative and summative assessments as well as pockets of promising innovations. To exploit and scale up these innovations, it seems essential to engage a broad-based consultative process to build consensus on the education goals for future generations. It is likely that such a consensus will involve a rethinking of traditional learning goals, as well as the adoption of some of the 21st century skills as important curricular goals. As a consensus on student learning goals begins to emerge, work on a corresponding assessment strategy can begin, including further development of the assessment infrastructure, efforts to strengthen teacher professionalism in assessment and support for innovative assessment practice at the local level. In the short term, there are opportunities to leverage assessment data that is currently being generated and to critically examine current practices that may impede innovation and improvement, with a view to ensuring a balanced use of assessment as, for and of learning.


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