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Mainstream assessment systems - Cyprus

There are three main kinds of assessment, described as guidelines for teachers in the National Curriculum of 2002.  These are:

Initial Assessment

Initial assessment aims to identify the existing knowledge of each pupil, abilities and level of achievement. It is conducted at the beginning of the school year or at the beginning of each term.

It is a school-based assessment and it is considered useful for programming the learning procedure and defining goals.

On-going Assessment

It is conducted during the teaching procedure and it provides the teacher with information about the effectiveness of his/her teaching, the appropriateness of the teaching goals, means and procedures and the level of learning achieved by the pupils.

Evaluation

This is usually done at the end of the semester or each school year and refers to the whole curriculum. The teacher gains information on what the pupils have achieved throughout the semester or the year.

Assessment is conducted within the teaching procedure.  It does not aim, according to the Curriculum of 2002, to discriminate or reject pupils, but to provide information in order to give help to all pupils according to their abilities in a mixed ability class.  This emphasizes the importance of assessment for helping pupils improve and make the best use of their potentials.

The teacher uses the results of assessment not only to re-define / reform teaching goals, aims and procedures, but to develop remedial teaching, according to the needs of the pupils.  Assessment is important for the teacher as a means of individualizing instruction.

Means of Assessment

Non-standardized tests

As stated in the Curriculum, assessment is carried out through reliable tests usually designed by the teacher.  In designing a test, the teacher should have in mind:

  • the subject to be assessed
  • the knowledge that should be gained by the pupils
  • to give precise instructions, questions and activities in the test  to avoid failure due to misunderstanding.

“Standardized” tests

The Curriculum Development Unit prepares these tests.  They are based on the Curriculum and are formalized.  They are not actually standardized, in the meaning of defining standards. They are just the same for all schools but are not used for defining national levels.  Teachers have the option to use them as they are or to adapt them to suit their needs.

Observation

Teachers observe the pupil’s emotional behaviour and participation in class lessons.

Self- assessment

Through self-assessment pupils are able to observe their own potential, their progress and their achievements for purposes of self-esteem.

Teachers’ Role in Assessment

According to the Curriculum, assessment is not only considered as a means of measurement, it is also a procedure with which the teacher and the school in general can observe the results of the teaching process.

The teacher has a major role in assessment for the curriculum, for new methods in teaching, for means used in teaching and for innovations.  He/she is the most appropriate to see in practice if something is successful or not, if an innovation is functional or not.  It is the teacher who will help decision makers to have a more clear view about innovations.

The most important part of assessment is not just to write down results and numbers, but also depends on the teachers´ ability to find activities for helping pupils overcome their disabilities and weaknesses.  After written assessments it is usually useful for the teacher to provide follow up work.  This way, assessment becomes an integral part of teaching.

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