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Features of best assessment practice - Hungary

In Hungary inclusive education aims at ensuring that each child, irrespective of being disabled by some injury or any other cause can take part in institutional education without being discriminated. As it is concurrent with the ever stronger wish of parents, good practices being carried out at inclusive institutions have gained considerable appreciation. 

The main features of best practices at inclusive institutions in Hungary are as follows:

  • Description of the assessment system of the institution is part of the pedagogical programme approved of by parents, pupils and teachers.
  • Parents can get an insight into assessment. Teachers intend to develop a joint interpretation of assessment and to involve parents in educational work.
  • Pupils get directly involved in the assessment process.
  • Flexible assessment in report form ensures that assessment is carried out on the basis of plans for individual development. Emphasizing achievements and defining further tasks is part of diagnostic and formative assessment.
  • In assessing pupils with special education needs special teachers also participate and the assessment is based on the individual development plan drawn up by the special teacher and the mainstream teacher.
  • Monitoring the individual development of pupils with special education needs is helped by pupil portfolios, in which acquired knowledge, information and competences are recorded, objectives, success criteria and expectations are defined.
  • Defining fields of development, adjusting learning to individual learner’s needs and feedback help in finding comprehensive connections, which in the course of feedback and assessment become the basis for further development.
  • Assessment criteria are complex, concentrating not on individual subjects but the whole of the child’s development. They include the development level of factors influencing learning, communication and reading competences, applying individual learning techniques, the ability to understand and work with numbers, evaluating artistic and motion activities and the main features of the pupil’s social relations.
  • Pupils and parents get a regular personalised development report.
  • Classes are characterised by indirect differentiation so the pupils assess their abilities by choosing the task sheet itself. At the end of the class they give an account of the work done in self-assessment form.
  • Teachers use assessment cards, which are child centred, aesthetic and motivating. Assessment cards reflect not only achievements in particular subjects but also adaptation to school life and peers. 

Policy that supports best practice

Impact of content regulation on best practices of inclusion in assessment

  • In Hungary the content of public education is regulated by the National Core Curriculum. Requirements are assigned to long time intervals as opposed to given academic years. Therefore pupils at any level do activities designed for them at the appropriate level and standard. Producing individual development programmes for each pupil has become more and more demanding and evaluated. 
  • The National Core Curriculum is a basic document for the school education of pupils with special education needs as well. In developing their pedagogical programmes schools can use the National Core Curriculum to their local needs.
  • Differences among pupils are taken into account when schools develop their own pedagogical programmes. The aims, tasks, contents, activities and requirements concerning pupils with special education needs have to be set in the pedagogical programme of the institution, in the quality assurance programme of the institution, in local curricula and in the teaching-learning programmes related to thematic units, plans. This is where institutions define their attitudes to pupil assessment. In drawing up plans they follow the Curriculum guidelines to school education of pupils with special education needs as well.
  • The whole education system of public education institutions taking part in educating pupils with special education needs is determined by comprehensive, long term habilitation/rehabilitation aims and tasks included in the documents of the institution. The habilitation and rehabilitation activity is carried out in an open teaching/learning process developed and organised by team work, which require the development and use of procedures, time frames, tools, methods, therapies and assessment systems dependent on the needs of the individual pupils or groups of pupils. 

The National Development Plan

The package of measures designed in order to ensure equal opportunities for pupils with special education needs give support to institutions undertaking the inclusion of pupils with special education needs through central programmes that can be applied for.

Developments realised in the framework of central programmes facilitate to shape and renew a supporting pedagogical system, whose instruments provide support to institutions on the level of concrete pedagogical practice and activities. The programme packages developed in the process of development are the conditions of well functioning inclusion. 

The programme packages include:

  • developing programme packages or initial teacher training
  • developing and implementing programmes for in-service teacher training and for expert training courses
  • developing and implementing training, increasing social sensitivity
  • developing know-how for inclusive education and creating methodological databases service programme packages
  • developing new methods for preventing drop-out
  • transferring the knowledge of special institutions to the mainstream.

Reference books, task sheets, lists of tasks activity systems assigned for given levels of development are not available at present; they are being developed by the teaching staff of inclusive institutions in co-operation with special teachers of special institutions. 

General tasks

The improvement and enrichment of tools and methods supporting inclusion (e.g. enhancing the initial and in-service teacher training, professional services with the strengthening of counselling) should be achieved. Professional and inter-professional collaboration is to be encouraged. The knowledge accumulated in traditionally operating special institutions should be transferred to mainstream schools. A supporting network should be built. 

Specific tasks

The whole institutional structure is to be transformed into one where such (in-school and out of school) co-operation is developed through which the school becomes suitable for educating pupils with different needs, of disadvantaged background, with special education needs or especially gifted in any field. In order to achieve this, commitment of individual teachers and the teaching staff as well as of school managements, teacher’s competencies, co-operation with parents, social partners and other professional experts (psychologists, special teachers, civil organisations and employers, secondary school staff) and the development of teacher’s competencies are required.

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