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Challenges and tendencies - Greece

Several social and educational factors contribute to current changes in assessment practices. These include changing concepts of the purpose of assessment and of how children develop and learn, changing educational goals, curriculum and teaching strategies, the changing nature of the population in schools and centres and the limitations and inadequacies of traditional testing.

Any change in education has to face two opposite forces, the one fighting the other: New trends are imposed by the current situation of the national education system which are, in a way, pressed by the European Union strategy which is discussed and approved by the Ministers of the E.U. countries.  On the other side, traditional teaching is not or will not easily get into the track of the new situation. A problem here arises: How to motivate teachers so as to become ‘vehicles’ of the new approach to assessment and to put  in practice these  challenges.

In the traditional system of assessment teachers were expected to transfer knowledge and to check afterwards if this knowledge had been registered in the receivers’ mind,  considering them as a mass. Now that constructivist approaches and  ICT ‘tools’ open a wide range of applications and a new field for collaborative work aiming at individual  teaching (ITP)  and results, teachers are not prepared to respond, not only because they have been trained to older models, but also because the new role of the manager is totally unknown to them. Teachers are expected; a) to be managers of the new system, b) to have ‘tools’ to use the system  efficiently  and, c) to use the assessment information effectively and appropriately for every pupil given the great diversity in the current school population. It was very easy before when we used to refer to categories. But the categorisation system does not apply any more, not only for pupils with special needs, but also for the so called before ‘ordinary’ school pupils, since special educational needs increase more and

more, appearing in all pupils whether with or without disabilities. The challenge is now: a) how to allocate and evaluate the kind of special educational need, b) how to master the individual application of the  subject matter and c) how to match what has been taught with what is assessed. In addition, a crucial problem is that assessment must be closely related to what pupils learn through the subject matter.

Concluding the above raised questions we think that new advisory persons, (e.g. co-ordinators), might be needed who could assist teachers to built a portfolio for every pupil, so as to have available information concerning their improvement. This file of observations from the pupil’ s progress could lead to a fair and effective assessment  of their teaching, the pupil’s response to this kind of teaching, the value or the extra curricular activities, now being part of the teaching process. Statistics of the pupil’s progress help teachers to compare the results on an individual basis within the national system requirements and culture, during the cycle of studies (i.e. primary, secondary low and upper) over the years. This could be a valid assessment process which can always be the subject of discussion between all school factors, i.e. teacher and pupil, teacher and teacher, teacher and parents, teacher-parents and head-teacher, all of them with the regional advisory body (CDES in the case of Greece) for the benefit of the child’s progress.

All the above constitute also the orientation of the European Community education policy. Maintaining democracy, religious freedom, collective spirit, internationalism, social justice and solidarity, cultural awareness, social cohesion, and providing employment and intellectual development opportunities for all in open pluralistic societies are priorities that fall within the scope of a common European education policy.

 

Sources:

  • Chapter: General Part,  from : “A Cross Thematic Curriculum Framework for Compulsory Education, Translated from the Official Gazette issue B, nr 303/13-03-03 and issue B, nr 304/13-03-03 by members of the P.I. main staff and teachers seconded to the P.I.” at: http://www.pi-schools.gr/
 
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