Slovak Republic

Between 2013 and 2015, the Slovak Republic’s National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements (NÚCEM) developed a range of electronic assessments, with the aim of gradually introducing e-testing in all primary and secondary schools. E-testing has taken place every year since the successful completion of the project in 2015, with many schools making use of the tests in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The assessments cover a range of education levels and subject areas and provide information to different audiences for different purposes. School-level assessments are designed to support internal evaluation and teacher professional development. Teachers can access a database of ‘teacher tests’, which give them rapid feedback on students’ progress, reducing the time they spend on marking. NÚCEM has also produced electronic examinations for external assessment and certification, including the school-leaving certificate (Maturita), and e-tests for grades 5 and 9.

In spring 2020, when schools had moved towards distance learning, NÚCEM made 24 new e-assessments available to all schools in the country. Rather than assessing students’ knowledge, the aim of these assessments was to support consolidation of learning and to assess complex competences. The tests covered skills such as financial and statistical literacy, as well as reading, mathematics, science and foreign languages. Over 16 000 students from 251 primary and secondary schools participated in the 2020 round of testing (NUCEM, 2020[6]).

Further reading: NUCEM (n.d.[7]), Increasing the quality of primary and secondary education with the use of electronic testing, http://www.etest.sk/275-en/news/ (accessed on 1 April 2021).

The Slovak Republic is piloting a new Curriculum Framework by Cycle of Education (RUP podła cyklov) and Adjusted Objectives of Education (Upravené ciele a obsah vzdelávania). These seek to allow primary-level schools to compensate for learning time lost in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to reduce curricular overload. The 2019/20 school closures meant that, by the end of the academic year, some learners had not acquired the expected knowledge and skills for their grade level or were inadequately prepared for the transition to lower secondary. The reforms allow primary schools to organise the curriculum in three multi-year cycles, rather than grade levels, with required knowledge and skills determined at the end of each cycle. This gives schools the freedom and flexibility to adapt the content and pace of learning to the needs of their learners and to address learning gaps as they arise. Schools also have greater control over the time allocation for individual subjects. One of the cycles covers the first year of lower-secondary school as well as the last two years of primary to ensure learners’ successful transitions between the two levels of schooling. In a pilot project, due to take place over a three-year period, participating schools will receive guidance and support, including methodological guidance that sets out different options for curricular adjustments.

Further reading: National Institute for Education of the Slovak Republic (2020[8]), Methodological guidance - Framework curricula by cycle of education, https://www.statpedu.sk/files/sk/svp/pilotne-overovanie/metodicke-usmernenie/metodicke_usmernenie_bez_dodatku.pdf (accessed on 1 April 2021).

References

National Institute for Education of the Slovak Republic (2020), Methodological guidance - Framework curricula by cycle of education, https://www.statpedu.sk/files/sk/svp/pilotne-overovanie/metodicke-usmernenie/metodicke_usmernenie_bez_dodatku.pdf (accessed on 1 April 2021). [8]

NUCEM (2020), Počas dištančného vzdelávania bol najväčší záujem o e-testy z čitateľskej gramotnosti [During distance learning, the greatest interest was in e-test in literacy], http://www.etest.sk/data/files/2712_publicita-jun-2020_ts_jarne-e-testovania-final.pdf (accessed on 1 April 2021). [6]

NUCEM (n.d.), Increasing the quality of primary and secondary education with the use of electronic testing, http://www.etest.sk/275-en/news/ (accessed on 1 April 2021). [7]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/3bfda1f7-en. [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en. [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/b5fd1b8f-en. [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en. [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1d0bc92a-en. [3]

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