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On-going assessment of learning in inclusive settings - Iceland

Continuous assessment in primary/lower secondary school is closely linked to study and teaching. Assessment of study is thus a part of everyday school work. Assessment methods are intended to be diverse, and to measure as many aspects of the studies as possible. Special needs teachers, other teachers and developmental therapists regularly assess their pupils on the basis of their teaching and the objectives stated. A variety of assessment tools are used, formal and informal, home-made or ready-made. Teachers have extensive scope to create their assessment tools, whether in collaboration with teachers of the Year class, or on their own. Tests are used, for instance, to assess performance in individual study topics, and the pupil’s success in achieving the objectives stated by the school and the National Curriculum Guide. Checklists are used to assess social skills, communication and behaviour, and portfolios are used by pupils, teachers and parents to assess the pupil’s progress in his/her studies. 

Curriculum-related assessment 

As stated above, the intermediate objectives of the National Curriculum Guide form the basis of mandated national examinations in Icelandic and mathematics in Years 4 and 7. They are intended to assess pupils’ success in achieving the intermediate objectives stated in the National Curriculum Guide. National examinations in Year 10 are not compulsory, but those who take them gain more rights to enter study programmes in upper secondary school than those who do not take the examinations. 

National examinations are now held in six subjects in Year 10. In practice, nearly 95% of pupils in Year 10 take the examination in Icelandic, mathematics and English. A small number of pupils, 2.3%, take no examinations, and 7.6 % take one to three subjects. Of the pupils who take national examinations, just over 23% do not achieve the required result for entry to some study programme of upper secondary school.

In recent years, applications have been made for waivers of normal examination procedure for 8-12% of pupils in Year 10; the proportion varies between subjects. Applications for waivers are generally grounded upon difficulties in reading (dyslexia) or mathematics (dyscalculation). The waivers involve such arrangements as extended examination time, and oral examinations. 

Curriculum related in-school assessment (tests of general knowledge) takes place formally twice a year in most schools. Examinations are taken at the end of the autumn term and spring term. They are intended to measure how pupils are achieving the objectives stated by the school and the National Curriculum Guide for the relevant age group. These curriculum related examinations are usually prepared in-school by the teachers.

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