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Features of best assessment practice - Estonia

The Estonian educational system is influenced by 2 important factors. Firstly, there is an ongoing educational reform in schools. Secondly, Estonia has a very strict Data Protection legislation which does not allow making any personal data (incl. health issues, school results, etc) available to the public unless a person agrees to it.

But some features of best practice can still be mentioned:

  • involvement of parents in assessment
    • Parents themselves assessed the educational progress and other aspects of their child.
    • Internet-based information system and sms-based system to inform parents quickly about the child’s school issues – study results, some problems, quick messages etc.
    • Parents themselves can also contact a school via the Internet. Hereby, the communication between parents and school is two-way.
  • compulsory network around a pupil who has some difficulties or problems in full participation in studies. The network should involve the following specialists - a class teacher, subject teacher, speech therapist, social pedagogue, psychologist, representative of a local municipality, deputy head of a school and parent. Based on the opinion of these specialists a pupil can be offered different forms of learning and studying.
  • In grades I-II verbal assessment is allowed to monitor pupil’s progress and study results.
  • Starting from this academic year (2005-2006) an apprenticeship year for a novice teacher is compulsory. A newly educated teacher will work for one year under the supervision of an experienced teacher (mentor). The mentor assesses, offers practical advice and tips etc.

Policy that supports best practice

  • New assessment regulation gives more flexibility for a school to lay down the school’s assessment rules.
  • A support network regulation obliges schools to look for assistance from other specialists if a pupil experiences difficulties and to work in co-operation with other specialists, also from outside schools.
  • The remedial teaching regulation also includes a standard “A pupil observation chart” in order to help class teachers to notice, monitor and assess possible problems a pupil might have.
  • Decision-making is becoming more flexible as pursuant to new legislative documents schools and local authorities are allowed to make more decisions on-the-spot and based on local needs.
  • Legislative documents that establish demands for teacher education, stipulate that initial and in-service teacher education shall include some modules about special needs, alternative teaching methods, child observation and assessment.
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