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Preamble - Lithuania

Curriculum reform at the national level is accompanied by changes in the assessment system. Within the new educational paradigm, assessment is seen as an integral part of the educational process, in which continuous observation of the pupils’ progress, appropriate feedback, active involvement of the learner and co-operation between teachers and parents should improve the quality of learning and teaching.
Terminology: The term ‘assessment’ is used generically, in all the three senses: process, product and self-assessment.
Assessment as a process: Information about the pupil’s progress and achievement is collected, analysed and interpreted throughout the process of education.
Assessment as a product: Results of the pupil’s progress and achievement are recorded.
Self-assessment: The pupil is engaged in self-observation and analysis of his/her own learning process and results. The pupil is conscious of his/her needs and participates in planning own further learning.
According to the assessment goals there are such main types of assessment as:

  • Diagnostic assessment – assessment which is used to identify the pupil’s progress and performance at the end of a topic or part of a course. It helps to predict possibilities of further learning and provide necessary aid in overcoming difficulties.
  • Formative assessment – on-going assessment which helps to predict the prospect of learning and improve progress. It also encourages pupils to analyse their performance and discrepancies and gives chances for positive co-operation between pupils and teachers.
  • Summative assessment – assessment which is used at the end of program, course or module. Its results confirm the pupil’s performance formally at the end of syllabus.
  • Norm referenced assessment – assessment which gives the possibility to compare one pupil’s performance to the others.
  • Criterion referenced assessment– assessment which is based on some criteria (for example standards). The pupil’s performance is compared according to them.
  • Other important concepts
  • Assessment information-information about the pupil’s learning experience, achievement and progress (knowledge and perception, abilities and attitude) which is collected from different sources, in different ways.
  • Assessment of personal achievement (Idiographic assessment) – According to this principle of assessment, progress is monitored and assessed comparing the pupil’s current achievement with an earlier one.
  • Learning experience – the pupil’s ability to set learning goals and strive for reaching them, to plan the time of learning, to use various sources of information, work in groups, gain a sense of achievement and develop independent learning strategies.
  • Description of the ages covered in primary education
  • Due to certain national peculiarities the Educational Classification of Lithuania (ECL) slightly differs from International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 97):
    • Educational levels according to the ECL Educational levels according to the ISCED 97:
Educational levels according to the ECL Educational levels according to the ISCED 97
0 Level
Kindergarten education (kindergarten and pre-school training programmes)
0 Level
Pre-primary education
1 Level
Primary education (primary education programees)
1 Level
Primary education or first stage of basic education

In Lithuania schools are grouped by level and nature of programmes. Primary education programmes (a four-year curriculum) can be implemented by these types of schools of general education: kindergarten school; primary school; basic school; special homes for children’s education and care; hospital school; secondary school; in certain cases – gymnasium; special school.
As set by the Law on Education of the Republic of Lithuania children can start compulsory  education at the age of seven. Upon the parent’s request, primary education may begin before the time specified above if the child has achieved the maturity required for this kind of education.

Level of education Duration Pupil's age (years) Year
Primary education 4 years 6/7-9/10 1-4

The purpose of primary education is to provide an individual with the basics of moral, cultural and social maturity and elementary literacy. In year 1 – 4, pupils are taught only compulsory subjects, as defined in the General Curriculum approved by Ministry of Education and Science. The learners are offered an opportunity to choose non-traditional curricula, i.e. curricula based on Mari Montessori, Waldorf, Suzuki pedagogical systems.
The official language of instruction is Lithuanian, but national minorities (Russians, Poles, Belorussians) have the right to teach children with using  Russian, Polish and Belorussian languages of instruction.
Education of pupils with special needs in accordance with the special basic education curricula and adapted basic education curricula takes place in schools of general education. The special education mode that Lithuania has chosen embraces all the forms of special education services provided in both mainstream and special schools.
In 2005, there were 58747 pupils in Lithuania (10.5% of the total population of pupils) with identified special needs of various levels, 6837 pupils (about 1.1% of all the school children in the country) were educated in special schools.
Every year more and more learners with special needs attend schools together with the learners of day schools of general education. In 2005, 9.7% of learners were fully integrated (51910 pupils attended general education schools together with their healthy peers). In 2005, the number of such learners with special needs in day schools of general education was as high as 88.4% out of all learners with special needs. Most of them about 60% had speech and communication difficulties, 19% had some specific cognition problems, 8% were mentally handicapped, 5% were visually impaired, 2% had physical and locomotive problems and 1% were hearing impaired children.
The number of pupils per teacher is 12.9% at primary level. The average class (year 1 – 12) size is 19.6 (24.4 in urban areas, 12.1 in rural areas). The law defines the maximum number of pupils per class as 24 in primary education and 30 in lower secondary education.

Compulsory education is ten years (until the age of 16). It is free of charge, except partial payments for textbooks.

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