More To Standardized Test Scores than Global Averages, Experts Say

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
10/5/2011 9:58 AM
Category: Education

The international PISA tests administered every few years routinely show that Estonian math and science scores are near the best in the world, but not everything is necessarily rosy, according to dozens of educators who analyzed the last results and issued a resolution on October 4. 

For one thing, say the experts, the most recent, 2009 PISA test showed that Estonian schoolchildren are less interested in reading, and activities that support development of gifted and talented students vary widely from one school to another and even in different grade levels at the same school.

Margus Pedaste of the University of Tartu Science Education Department said the problem of classmates ostracizing talented kids should be addressed.

"One thing we analyzed and found was that the largest share of variability of PISA resuls actually depends on what goes on in the classroom - the particularities of the students - and how well the students and teacher work together. The question is how well can the teacher realize the students' abilities based on the individuality of the student."

The pace of teaching in schools is only as fast as the least apt pupils, and does not proceed at the rate of either the average or the most talented, experts said.

The educators put together a resolution with proposals to the Education Ministry, schools, colleges and universities and parents on how to rectify the situation.

Eductaion Ministry advisor Maie Kitsing said the PISA averages are often the only thing looked at - on a nation to nation comparison - but instead the entire data set should be reviewed.

Kristopher Rikken

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