Education minister drops standardized tests

National standardized tests harm schools, create 'league table' culture, ministry says in statement. 'We veered from learning to measuring,' Minister Piron claims

Education Minister Shai Piron announced the cancellation of national standardized tests (NST) in the upcoming school year.


The reason given for the decision was that the release of the test results to the public exerted undue pressure on students, raised concerns as to the tests' integrity and harmed teachers' motivation.


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"The standardized tests are important and valuable evaluation tools, which we should continue to use in the future, however they cannot be carried on with in their present format," said Minister Piron.


"The current form of the tests harms schools, teachers and students," he added.


The national standardized tests are taken in primary schools and junior highs in four core subjects: Math, English, Science and mother tongue.


Every school goes through two such external exams every two years. Schools also conduct similar internal exams, which results they are not required to release to the public.


Education Ministry sources claim that the results' publication in recent years has led to imbalances within schools between test marks and other educational measures, such as moral and social values education.


"School principals faced tough dilemmas and felt the didn't receive the trust they deserve," an Education Ministry statement said.


"Focused preparations for the NST were conducted at the expense of regular teaching hours, negative phenomena of wide purchase of preparation material for the NST and preparation during breaks were created.


"An atmosphere of bad culture and league tables arose, which harmed schools, especially those which integrate students from lower socio-economic status, and do God's work to close gaps."


Minister Piron told Ynet: "The message is we've gone crazy, confused. This thing turned into something that drives us from learning to measuring."


Amnon Rabinovich, a high school teacher from Jerusalem, congratulated the decision. "From my perspective as a teacher, now we'll have more time to experiment in the classroom and delve deeper into the material, which we couldn't before because we had to finish studying for the NST."


Rabinovich believes the decision will allow schools and teachers to mold the educational process in the classroom. According to him, "the NST created league tables which compared schools, and increased the motivation to drop students, and the schools which worked with the drop-outs were presented as sub-par, which often enough is simply not true."



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פרסום ראשון: 08.12.13, 18:14
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