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Preamble - Czech Republic

In the Czech school system assessment of pupils´ school achievement, including pupils with special needs is done regularly. Pupils in primary education cover the age group 6 to 15 years. Pupils with special needs are allowed to enter primary education 2 years later than normal if necessary. The compulsory school attendance is 9 years. With special permission from the Ministry primary education for pupils with special needs can be 10 years.

There is a long tradition of using subjective assessment done by teachers at Czech schools. It is an approach based on underlying the competences of a teacher to do a fair and responsible assessment of his/her pupils’ achievements. It also has a lot to do with the authority of a teacher and a lot to do with not only the role of the teacher in providing information about the level of a pupil’s performance to external bodies (parents, school, where  pupils move to etc), but it has a very important role in providing the feed back and information to the pupil him/herself for building his/her self esteem and self reflection in relation to his/her school achievements, strong or week sides of his/her abilities.

Subjective assessment is considered the opposite to assessment by means of tests. There is general agreement that subjective assessment will not be removed from the practice of Czech schools totally. “Standardised assessment” done by means of tests is a broadly accepted practice of psychological diagnostics, as well as for finding the accurate answer as concerns the origin of the pupil ´s poor results or failure at school (for instance the standardised reading test, test of phonological discrimination of a pupil who has difficulties in acquiring reading and writing skills). 

It is necessary to say that inclusive education has only slowly become the standard quality of our schools. The Czech system of education is a multi-track system. There are three organisational forms of education for children with special needs – individual integration at a mainstream school, special classes (units) organised for pupils with special needs at mainstream schools and at a school functioning only for children with special needs (pupils without special needs can also attend such a school if their parents wish). 

Due to this, the assessment of special needs for a child plays a very important role in providing the appropriate conditions for education and assessment in the school. To make appropriate conditions for a child with special needs means using the supportive provisions. Supportive provisions are described by the School Act and by the Regulation on education of pupils with special needs.  

Since all schools are obliged to individualise and differentiate the process of education, the supportive provisions described by law are those that go beyond that obligatory individualisation and differentiation of the process of education. The additional support means that the additional pedagogical staff available in a class where there is a  child/pupil/student with special needs, apply special compensatory aids, additional specific teaching materials and specific text books in Braille print, an individual educational plan, and specific assessment arrangements.

The key guiding principle is to create conditions for fair assessment of pupils, for it is not to be a disadvantage to be a pupil with special needs during education including assessment of school achievements.

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