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Implementation of assessment policy - Belgium (Flemish speaking community)

The assessment policy of Flemish primary schools is filled in by the school administration, based on the attainment targets and is described in the school work plan. The class counsel decide by evaluation, which pupils receive a certificate at the end of primary school. The outcome of the assessment process is the way in which the pupil has reached the standardised curriculum (attainment targets) and the schools specific goals from the school work plan. Teachers and school administrators have to prove this for every single pupil with valid and reliable data. Succeeding in both parts leads to the certificate. Instruments used to collect the data are the central exams from the school boards, the method tests from publishers following with the schoolbooks, standardised school exams based on the school work plan, pupil monitoring systems,… These instruments will be assessed by the school inspector to determine the output factors, namely the effect or the result of the education. A central question here is:

  • Did the school accomplish (and how much) the societal task, i.e. duty to strive for and to reach the developmental goals and the attainment targets?

Specifically to the special education:

  • Did the school accomplish (and how much) the chosen goals and the selected developmental goals?
  • Did the school accomplish (and how much) the societal task, i.e. duty to strive for the developmental goals?

The inspector examines the analyses of the data to see whether the school offers inclusive quality in a responsible way and according to his/her visions of education.

The last results of an inspection showed that quality in primary education is good. Special attention was drawn to individualised education by differentiation on classroom and school level. The inspector tried to find out whether or not the primary school is making enough efforts to offer tailor-made education for every pupil. The Flemish government wants to, by taking extra care, improve the development of every pupil. The specific score on this issue was not so good. Only 60% of the schools scored well on this topic, from which only 15% scored very well. More than 20% of the schools received a poor score. Nursery school in general scored better than primary schools, especially on differentiation. The first three years of primary school (Years 1-3) scored better than the last three years (Years 4-6).

The inspector defines the differentiated education on the basis of the following criteria (extracted from the didactical models):

  • teachers have a correct view on the starting point of the pupils + screening (70%  scored well)
  • teachers make efficient use of  learning instruments and infrastructure (70% scored well)
  • goals and contents (50% scored well)
  • working forms and grouping forms (50% scored well)
  • evaluating and reporting (less than half of the schools scored well)
  • more information: and

Offering tailor made education has to be supported by the school’s special needs policy, co-ordinated by a counsellor and with the whole school team being responsible. Within the special needs policy there are problems to solve on three levels:

  • co-ordination of care initiatives on school level
  • support the actions of the individual teacher
  • counsel the pupils

These problems cannot be separated. The responsible co-ordinator has to consciously stimulate the co-operation between the three levels, as well as reaching it. The special needs policy is characterised by actions on three levels but this does not mean that all these actions have to be fulfilled by one person. The special needs policy is a matter in which the whole school is involved, the principal included, and in which the whole team have responsibilities. Possible initiatives within the policy, often under the responsibility of the co-ordinating counsellor, are:

  • on school level: caring, being visible, present and reachable for every question/ problem from teachers, pupils, parents,..; organising and co-ordinating curriculum differentiation for the individual pupil or for groups of pupils (= differentiation of goals, content, working forms, grouping forms, assessment, tempo,…); the organising and supporting of differentiated learning processes; introducing and supporting the use of a pupil monitoring system; organising the registration of useful information about pupils and making this accessible to all participants; organising the intern and multidisciplinary meetings; organisation of the contacts with external partners (CLB, specialised services, special education,…); setting up networks of persons, services and schools to work together or support each other; setting up a documentation centre; stimulating parent participation, organising contacts with parents, self assessment
  • on teacher level: providing didactical suggestions about diversity (= prevention of learning problems); giving instruments for detection and problem analyses; supporting by action based diagnostics; working together on the individual education planning; searching together for solutions and interventions; following up and assessing the interventions; coaching of colleagues;…
  • on pupil level: the school takes care of the pupils who need extra support. Following up the individual education planning; strengthening the pupil emotionally; providing remediation of reading, writing and mathematical problems; training basic skills; stimulating motor skills. Often this support comes from specific expertise. When the problem becomes too great for the class teacher and the class group, the counsellor can intervene.

Thus there is a certain amount of room to provide tailor made education in mainstream schools. The expertise has not come that far as yet and we cannot speak of inclusive education on a large scale, especially not on the level of curriculum differentiation and adequate assessment.


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