Schools are being proposed to be punished for poor knowledge of schoolchildren

The question is whether schools currently have the capacity and how it can be strengthened. Olinya suggests thinking about how to attract strong, well-trained teachers to schools and how to support them in everyday life.

The new curriculum also attempted to achieve this goal by including all children in the school system. “Everyone should bring a successful result, and not just those who go through the system themselves,” Olinya emphasized. She agrees that engaging each child according to their abilities is a “huge challenge.”

As an example, Olinya cited the subject of mathematics – if you do not change the way the subject is taught until the 6th grade, then “a very significant part” of children could be lost from the 7th grade.

“They have already told themselves that they will never be able to learn math in their life, and they continue to use the same very simplified methods to cope with the increasingly complex math that needs to be learned,” Olinya said.

“Significant inequality” not only between local governments, but also between schools of the same local government is demonstrated by both the performance of ninth-graders in the mathematics exam and research by the Interdisciplinary Innovation Center of the University of Latvia. In some schools, children show very good results in mathematics in the 3rd grade, but already in the 6th grade only a part of them maintain good performance.

According to Olina, existing inequality means that there is no way to help teachers and schools improve, and “we already in the system decide that some results will be lower.” Professional support should be available at all three levels, including municipality and school. The situation could be improved by the idea of ​​the Ministry of Education and Culture to create a methodological center – teachers would have a clear mechanism and stages where they could get information on how to teach children differently, and who could help them practically. It all depends on how the plans are implemented in practice.

According to Olini, university researchers should also continue to develop methodology and adopt international experience, integrating it into Latvian educational institutions. “We have a lot of tools, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” she said, stressing that “huge resources” are being invested.

Representatives of School2030 do not deny that what the project offers can be improved, for example, by updating the content of training. At the same time, you should clarify what is necessary, and not stop introducing content and not “start again from scratch.”

According to Olina, the level of education “is still quite good.” Sample subject programs are considered “the starting point from which the teacher starts” – in the future he can change the topics in places. In contrast, the perception of a cluttered curriculum arises from the inclusion of “various little details” and the teacher may feel that he has to teach it all. Olinya agrees that “a lot can be thrown away,” and this can also be done at the school level, when planning educational content. Collaborating with subject associations can also help.

Pestov also noted that the “core” of mathematics content had not changed much, although improved content added “certain emphases” and changed the order of topics. “The emphasis has shifted from teaching specific skills to reasoning using elements of mathematics,” Pestov noted. He believes the project has created a “very clear” framework, but practical implementation is still relevant.

When assessing the implementation of the new curriculum, it should be taken into account that for two out of three years, children studied primarily remotely during the pandemic. Older students felt a greater impact from this. Representatives of School2030 expect better results from the upcoming centralized examination session.

“Children returned to school after the pandemic, this should help. Schools are also really working, not that they are doing nothing. The results should be better,” Olinya predicts.

She admitted that it was difficult to assess whether the assessment threshold should have been raised this year or not. You should think about this not only in percentage terms, but also in terms of content – the assessment threshold symbolizes a certain set of skills. Without this, the school as a system should not graduate a child, otherwise he will not acquire the necessary skills for later life and “will actually remain on the street.”

At the same time, one cannot immediately assume that raising the minimum grade will motivate students to study more.

“Raising the threshold [оценки] We are placing more and more responsibility on ourselves as a system for the student. If we made such a decision because we understand that we, adults, did not do all our homework, then we will have to look at who is responsible for this – the student who did not study, or we who did not do our homework. [его] so far,” said Olinya.

20% of the exam content is devoted to basic skills. If a student scores 10% on the exam, this means that the basic skills have been partially mastered. According to representatives of School2030, there are various reasons why students do not achieve even the minimum grade in exams, such as the socio-economic status of the family, support received in previous classes, school attendance, family situation.

According to them, there is currently no good mechanism to help children who do not achieve even the minimum score in exams. Simply staying for another year is an absolutely unacceptable decision in the 21st century without a proven justification, Olinya emphasized.

One solution could be the proposal of the Ministry of Education and Science to introduce compensatory annual exams for primary school students who fail. If this is implemented, it will be “a very big advantage of the system,” since it will become clear what happens to children who do not pass exams, Pestov believes.

At the same time, there is a need to think about how to improve the ability to provide more support in the early stages, particularly in mathematics.

“It’s not that everything was perfect until the 8th grade, but in the 9th grade a problem suddenly arose,” said Pestov.

It has already been reported that this academic year the performance threshold for centralized exams in grade 9 will not be increased and will remain at the level of 10%, as in the last academic year.

The Ministry of Education explains this decision by the results of the last examination session and by the fact that the concept of a compensation year is now being developed for those 9th graders who did not reach the established level of performance in the exams and did not pass the exams. have not received a certificate of compulsory basic education.

The Ministry of Education and Science is concerned that this could lead to more Year 9 students failing their exams, leading to more people lacking basic education. Already last school year, 881 students failed to pass the 10 percent threshold in at least one of the three state-mandated tests.

The Ministry of Education and Culture explains that the learning process for 9th grade students in the 2023/2024 academic year was significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and long-term distance learning.

At the secondary education stage, the threshold for centralized examinations in grade 12 this academic year will be 15%, as previously planned.

At the same time, the performance threshold for 9th grade may be raised starting from the next school year. For the exam to be considered passed, students must score at least 15% in the 2024/2025 school year and at least 20% in the 2025/2026 school year and beyond.

The 2022/2023 academic year was the first year when 9th grade graduates had to take centralized exams. By the 2024/2025 academic year, it was planned to increase the threshold of minimum state exam results to 20%.

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2024-04-21 17:53:35

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