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Mainstream assessment systems - Estonia

The regulation of the Ministry of Education Principles for external assessment of study results, basis for compilation, assessment and analysis of national examinations, basic school graduation examinations and national standardised determined tests.

The system of external assessment of study results in a primary school consists of national standardised determined tests. The tests will control acquired subject competencies. At the end of the first school stage the tests will be in the Estonian and Russian languages and in mathematics. At the end of the second  school stage there will be one additional test that will be decided by the Minister of Education by March 15th every year.

The tests can be organised either for all pupils in the respective grade or for a representative selection (at least 5% of pupils in the respective grade). The Minister of Education shall decide by the end of the second semester which of the 2 options will be used. The National Examination Centre shall inform local educational authorities one week before the test which schools shall participate in the test.

If a pupil is studying according to an individual education plan, there will be a note on the title page of the test saying “Studies according to an individual education plan”.

Based on the analysis of tests and teachers’ assessments, suggestions to improve the national curriculum, study materials, teachers’ in-service training, compilation of tests and examinations will be made.

Regulation of the Ministry of Education and Science The basis, conditions and procedure for assessment of pupils, transfer to the next grade and for repeating the same study year. Assessment of knowledge and skills will be based on the respective national curriculum. In a case where a pupil studies according to an individual education plan, assessment will take into account the special requirements established in the individual education plan.

The school is obliged to inform a pupil and his/her legal representative about the organisation of assessment in a school.

In grades 1 and 2 oral or written assessments which describe the pupil’s knowledge and skills can be used in some or all subjects. The principles and procedure for assessments will be established in a school curriculum.

The regulation also defines a five-point grading system used in Estonian schools: “5” (“very good”), the study result is completely in compliance with the curriculum demands – 90-100% from maximum points; “4” (“good”), the study result is mainly in compliance with the curriculum demands, but there are minor mistakes – 70-89% from maximum points; “3” (“satisfactory”), the study result is in principle in compliance with the curriculum demands, but there are deficiencies and mistakes – 45-69% from maximum points; “2” (“insufficient”), the study result is partly in compliance with the curriculum demands, but there are substantial deficiencies and mistakes – 20-44% from maximum points; “1” (“weak”), the study results are not in compliance with the curriculum demands – 0-19% from maximum points.

If a pupil has received a mark of “insufficient” or “weak”, or the equivalent, assessment information will be compiled, an individual education plan in the respective subject, another support system (e.g. speech therapy, remedial teaching) pursuant to the school curriculum, in order to facilitate the acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills will be appointed.

A pupil or his/her legal representative may contest assessment or evaluation within 10 days from receiving assessment or evaluation by submitting a reasoned written application the school principle. The school principle will make a decision and inform the applicant within 5 working days.

In a primary school a pupil will be appointed additional studies in subjects where term results correspond to “insufficient” or “weak”. A pupil may exceptionally repeat the same study year, if the pedagogical council decides so, provided that a pupil’s study results correspond to “insufficient” or “weak” in more than 3 subjects.

Pupils who study according to 2 simplified curricula will not be appointed to repeat the same study year.

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