Sunday 16 May 2021

Girls, low-income pupils hardest hit by scrapping primary school test

More primary school children have been told that they should go to a trade school next academic year as school leaving tests were scrapped because of coronavirus, national statistics agency CBS said on Tuesday.

In total, nearly 45% of 11 and 12-year-olds were placed in a vmbo, or vocational training school last year, compared with 41.5% in 2019, the CBS said.

Pupils are streamed on the basis of their teachers’ recommendations, but the results of the April test can be used to put pupils into a higher class.

The change is most noticeable with girls – there was a 7% drop in the number of girls being recommended for pre college or university (havo or vwo) secondary education.

Children from a more disadvantaged background have also been hit. In 2019, 42% of very low income children were put into havo or vwo streams, but last year the figure was 37.5%.

Various reports have already shown that the enforced closure of primary schools has had an impact on standards, particularly among pupils from a more disadvantaged background.

Benefit of the doubt

In January, school boards urged teachers to give primary school children the benefit of the doubt when deciding what sort of secondary school they should go to, because of the additional disadvantages generated by coronavirus and the lockdown.

Last year, Oxford university researchers said the suspension of face to face teaching in Dutch primary schools has had a more serious impact on children whose parents have lower levels of education.

The researchers compared the result of school tests before and after lockdown in spring 2020 and in the previous three years, and found that there had been what they called a ‘learning loss’.

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