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Descriptions of the legal system for assessment - Czech Republic

General education assessment

In the Czech Republic the assessment of pupils with and without special needs for the purpose of education is carried out regularly and according to the legislative bases. Assessment is the responsibility of the schools and school institutions. Assessment and evaluation of the quality of the process of education is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. The interest has much to do with the general curricular reform that was approved via the new legislation on education. The main new task is to create a system of assessing pupils at certain times during their educational career.

There has been a period with changes in the system of education in the Czech Republic after the new School Act No 561/2004. This Act was passed and came into force in January 2005. (www.msmt.cz). The main document on strategy and development of the Czech system of education is the National Programmeme of the Development of Education in the Czech Republic approved by the Czech Government in 2001 (The White Book) (www.msmt.cz). The biggest change in the process of general education assessment in the Czech Republic described in this document should mean a less selective approach of the Czech schools. Schools should open their doors to all pupils and should focus on success for all these pupils. This approach also covers the strategy of teaching and assessing pupils. The strategy of teaching is based on developing the pupils´ ability to solve problems  instead of the previous approach based on development of pupils academic knowledge.

At present new test materials are being prepared and verified as well as the process of how to present these test materials to pupils both with and without special needs. For pupils with special needs the specific conditions and adaptation process are guaranteed. The set of testing materials consists of questions on mathematics, Czech language and testing of general studying abilities and skills is also included. At the same time the set of adapted testing materials for on-going assessment of pupils with special needs during the school year, is being developed.

This adaptation will be prepared to reflect the special needs of the pupil, to take into  consideration their individual needs with regard to their specific needs (additional time, specific forms – for instance using Braille print, ICT, sign language, alternative means of communication, extra support etc.) – as the new School Act guarantees.

This is a very complex and demanding approach that includes the involvement of the whole assessment process. This means that a variety of tools, methods of distribution of test materials to pupils with specific needs, development of manuals, using the compensatory aids, assistive support to pupils etc. shall be used.

The intention is to develop test materials that will give a complete picture of pupils’ skills, the ability to work with information and to find the solution. The test shall not be based on testing the academic knowledge.

The new School Act states that assessment of pupils with special needs should reflect their special needs, should be done by appropriate methods and forms, be based on individualised approach stressing the abilities of a pupil and his/her individual achievement during the educational process. Assessment should be a tool for maintaining a positive approach towards the principle of ‘whole-life’ education for the pupil.

The Recommendation of the Ministry of Education about the assessment of pupils with special needs states, among other things, that the teacher should:

  • keep the evidence of a pupil ´s on-going achievements
  • reflect on the individual efforts of a pupil  during the process of education and his/her approach and attitude to education and social abilities
  • provide regular information to pupil´s parents about the pupil´s achievement.

Teachers should assess the on-going performance of the pupil during the educational process. By means of a variety of methods and forms the teacher should assess the practical, motor skills, oral, written performances, pupil´s social awareness and development of his/her social skills, abilities to work. It is assumed that the teacher will ask for the opinion of other class teachers and/or will ask the Pedagogical-psychological counselling centre or Special educational counselling centre for particular advice concerning the education and assessment of a pupil with special needs.

The School Act guarantees that assessment is done by means of words – descriptive assessment, for pupils with a mental impairment. Although there is no strict regulation concerning  the formulation of such assessment, it is assumed that assessment of pupils shall be based on positive motivation, building the pupils self esteem, on evaluating the positive achievements and motivation towards an independent living style and ‘whole-life’ education. 

For other pupils– including other groups of pupils with special needs - choosing oral assessment is eligible, the school headmaster makes a decision in co-operation with the School Council. The parents’ wishes are also taken into consideration. In the School Act there is a paragraph regulating the assessment of pupils with specific learning disorders. The assessment of this particular group of pupils shall be done orally, depending on the wishes of the parents.

If a parent is in doubt concerning the fairness of curriculum based assessment he or she can ask the school head teacher for his/her child to be re-asssessed. There is focus on pupils with special needs and they are given special attention. Recommendations given by the Pedagogical-psychological counselling centre or Special education counselling centre for the purpose of the pupil ´s assessment are seriously taken into consideration.

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