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Features of best assessment practice - Belgium (French speaking community)

New practice: The contract for the school

One major priority is to ensure that each pupil acquires the basic competences:

Firstly increasing the remediation (reducing leaving school)

It is essential to quickly and efficiently oppose a pupil leaving the school. Three mechanisms of remediation must be proposed to each school.

  • priority will be given to immediate remediation in the normal course of the class
  • the possibility to organise the complementary year in the first degree
  • a differentiated approach for students attending the secondary level without the basic study certificate.
  • to have a maximum of teachers to support the pupils
  • schools can no longer transfer the funding of the first degree onto other levels.

Secondly, assess the possibility of organising a common test at the end of the common studies. This test will be registered under the control of our educational system and will attest the achievements of 14 year olds, paying particular attention to French and mathematics. The results of the test will not be published and therefore no school or pupil will be stigmatised.

Another major priority is permanent control of the schools:

All teachers must give their support to the changes undertaken in the school and also closely control and assess the situation concerning the aims of the school and correct the day to day situation when necessary. Today this control is widely unprofitable as each school, sometimes each teacher, is alone with the difficulties that arise. To detect is to remediate, therefore the priority of this project of coherence and support concerns administration, inspection, schools, head teacher and teachers. The aim is ambitious and the hope is to increase the quality and the efficiency of our educational system.

  • reinforce the role and the means of the control commission

The control commission is composed of representatives from all sectors of the school. The role of the control commission as a link between the Government and school staff will become more and more important concurrently with the information it will receive and the assessments it will organise. The control commission also have the task of ensuring that aims are fulfilled.

  • reform of the inspection service

To enhance control of our education system it is necessary that the inspectors concentrate on the activities concerning assessment and on increasing the quality of the schools. The pedagogical training helps the daily practice of the teachers to detect difficulties concerning remediation and therefore certain tasks of the inspection will be transferred to the administration. The inspectors will be recruited by competition.

  • reinforce the external assessment

External assessment gives a more objective picture of the education. This helps the teaching team to assess the results of their actions and to take corrective measures. Concretely, all the pupils of all the schools from one primary year to one secondary year, different each year, have an annual external assessment; this is neither certificative or informative. On the basis of these results, the inspection and pedagogical team will help to define the strategies to improve results. The schools, especially those far from the middle performance level or with a high percentage of failure, must define a remedial plan.

  • implement a common test

To guarantee a graduate a high level of requirements and because this certificate attests the acquirement of the basic competences, from the school year 2006/2007, all pupils in the sixth primary year will have a common test to obtain this certificate.

  • increase the value of the head teacher

The principal of the school must be the primus motor of the change. The task of the director has at the same time a pedagogic, relational and administrative aspect. It is important to recognise the function of the head teacher and give him/her the means linked to the importance of his/her work. This function must be recognised, increased, clarified and supported even more, for example the information tool updated to simplify the tasks asked by central administration. The head teachers who are at the same time class teachers will receive more means to assure their role of direction and their pedagogic function. Specific help (1 extra employee for every 500 pupils) will be given to the head teacher of the elementary schools.

  • reinforce the administration of compulsory education

Increase the service with the triple aim of quality, speed and teamwork.

 

Sources:

  • Formation de la deuxième session des fonctions de promotion et de selection premier module Commission permanente de la Promotion et de la Sélection, réalisé par le Service d’Inspection, Ministère le la Communauté française de Belgique, Administration générale de l’Enseignement et de la Recherche scientifique.(Training for the second session for promotion and selection function )
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