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Assessment policy: introduction - France

Those national assessments which are called diagnostic assessments make it possible for the pupil to identify the obstacles to the pursuit of his learning and thus to apply remedial measures in the classroom”.  This particular system is made up of on the one hand, protocols when schools re-open after summer holidays.  They are different from one year to the next and take the form of multiple-choice questionnaires and open questions corrected by the teachers of the classes concerned.  On the other hand, the system includes a bank of tools and assistance to assessment.  Teachers can use this tool and assistance bank throughout the school year.

The main objective of national result assessments is to make possible a regulation of educational policy and to take decisions about the contents of programs, adaptation of pedagogical organisation, assistance structures are systems and organisation of the educational program as a whole. The method consists in gathering information through protocols based on samples representative of pupils and schools.  Identical types of information are used in order to make temporal and spatial comparisons. The protocols are in the form of multiple-choice questions and short open answer questions and are corrected at a national level by experts.  These result assessments are conducted at the school and collège level and also cover adults.  They are co-ordinated by the Assessment and Prospective Division, which also participates in international assessments, the PISA survey. 

Integrated into a system of assessments of the broadest skills and knowledge acquired by the pupils, the diagnostic assessments and the result assessments help develop the culture of assessment and provide information necessary at the political, social, and pedagogical levels. (Levasseur and Cosnefroy, 2004). 

Taking into account pupils with special educational needs

As concerns taking into account pupils with special educational needs and in particular elementary school pupils, it is worth mentioning that in France we have on the one hand networks of specialised assistance for pupils in difficulty.  These networks constitute structures that make it possible to help, inside schools, pupils facing great scholastic difficulties.  On the other hand we have care providing services aimed at helping the schooling of disabled pupils in an ordinary environment.  Lastly, some disabled children attend special schools, a type of structure rather highly developed in France. 

The two new laws mentioned previously have set up new mechanisms for educating pupils with special educational needs and disabled pupils. Thus, pupils attending elementary school or collège who encounter difficulties in acquiring indispensable knowledge and skills may be offered a personalised program for scholastic success. This program is based on the various assessments that have been carried out.   At the end of elementary school some pupils who encounter serious and lasting difficulties will benefit from adapted teaching in collège.  As for the lycée, the circular for the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year especially encourages vocational lycées to strengthen their follow-up mechanisms and personalised support for the most fragile young people.  

Lastly, a great majority of young people under the supervision of the Services of Legal Protection of Youth who have not acquired basic knowledge in elementary school can benefit from "Evalire". "Evalire" is a tool for evaluating reading skills, and it allows a true diagnosis leading to the question of remedial measures. 

For the educational program as a whole, for pupils with deficiencies or diseases, a personalised educational plan  will be prepared.  This plan will be an integral part of the compensation plan, and in order to guarantee the consistency and quality of the support necessary it will be based on a global assessment of the pupil’s needs and situation. Special conditions may be provided for the pupil during exams , as for example additional time or computer equipment.

 

Sources:

  • Evalire: a tool prepared on the initiative of the Division of the Legal Protection of Youth as part of a mission to fight illiteracy.
  • Cf. Michèle Collat, Elèves déficients visuels. Un outil pour la réalisation de conventions, de projets de classes et de projets individualisés, Cnefei, 2005.
  • Circular n°2003-100 of June 25, 2003, BO n°27 of July 3, 2003.
  • Circular n°2001-061 of April 5, 2001, BO n°15 of April 12, 2001 on the funding of educational materials adapted to pupils with sensory or motor deficiencies.
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