Tuesday 17 September 2019

Exam training under fire in primary school tests

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Education minister Arie Slob wants primary school pupils to take their year 8 exams earlier in the spring term, in an effort to improve equality of opportunity.

Currently teachers give parents their recommendations about what sort of secondary school children should go to in late February and the school leaving tests – which can lead teachers to reconsider – take place in April.

But the time gap between the first recommendation and the final one is increasingly being used by parents to coach their children so they can up their final scores. This means that children whose parents can afford the extra help have an added advantage.

‘In addition, I consider it important that the pressure on pupils and parents to perform well does not increase any further,’ Slob said.

Since 2015, the role of teachers in deciding what sort of school pupils go to at the age of 12 has been boosted and that of national tests, such as the Cito, downplayed.

Last year, it emerged that primary school teachers are being pressured by parents to change their recommendations about what sort of secondary school children should go to.

The survey of 2,000 teachers by the CNV trade union showed three-quarters had faced pressure from parents to recommend children went to a more academic secondary school.

Dutch children are selected for one of three streams at the age of 12: pre-university (vwo), pre-college (havo) and vocational training (vmbo).

The plan has to be debated in parliament and it will be the 2021-22 school year before the change can be implemented.

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