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On-going assessment of learning in inclusive settings - Cyprus

Curriculum based examinations and assessments

In primary education there are no examinations for promotion from one grade to another or from primary to secondary school.  Examinations are taken only in secondary education for purposes of promotion.  Pupils with special educational needs are entitled to some facilities during tests and exams, according to decisions made by the District Committees.  These provisions may be extra time for tests or exams, emphasis on oral achievement, ignorance of spelling and syntactic mistakes, and provision of a transcriber where this is considered important. There are no public examinations in Cyprus for pupils during primary education.

On-going assessment is mainly curriculum based both in pre-primary and primary education.  Teachers keep a portfolio for each pupil that is shared with the parents and other colleagues who are engaged in the education of the pupil.

The use of individual pupils’ assessment information

Individual pupil assessment information is almost never or rarely ever used for non-teaching and learning purposes - for example, school or even regional comparisons and monitoring - in Cyprus.

There is no official independent monitoring body that may gather and process pupil assessment information for the purpose of school or regional comparisons or for monitoring national standards. This has been an issue of debate, and although an attempt was made several years ago (2001) to set up a process for monitoring national standards, it was soon deserted mainly due to pressures by major stakeholders including teachers’ unions.

The Committee of Experts’ report concerning Educational Reform in Cyprus also rejects the idea of introducing National Standards but does recommend a carefully designed system of periodic evaluation of educational outcomes at nodal points in the educational system (e.g. 7, 11, 14 and 16 years of age) in order to provide feedback for the improvement of the system and for monitoring the introduction of innovations.

Clearly, the Committee is weary of the “consumerist” trap that National Standards may lead to, but does at the same time recognize the need for centrally regulated data gathering that will help provide feedback and monitor what is happening in the educational system as a whole.

In practice, and at present, the lack of such pupil assessment information is regarded by many as a major impediment to the improvement of the effectiveness of the educational system in Cyprus.

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