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20 June, 2024
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Could diagnostic tests help kids learn better?

Lawmakers look into early student assessments

Newsroom / CNA

The Parliamentary Committee on Education explored the need for diagnostic examinations in all primary and secondary education classes at the start of the academic year to identify and address student weaknesses effectively. The discussion included the participation of the General Inspectors of Secondary and Primary Education from the Ministry of Education. The Ministry is anticipated to present plans in this regard by the end of November.

The proposal for diagnostic testing was put forth by DISY MP Marios Mavridis and received positive responses from committee members. However, AKEL MPs emphasized the importance of written examinations for diagnosis and suggested extending the identification of cognitive difficulties and learning gaps to pre-primary levels.

Currently, diagnostic examinations for the first grade of secondary school and the first grade of high school are conducted nationwide, following international practice. These assessments are not intended for grading students but rather to identify areas where students may require additional support. The State Training Institutes offer further assistance for students with identified low learning outcomes, although parents can choose whether to accept this support.

The Inspector General of Primary Education, Andreas Theodorides, explained that the diagnostic tests aim to determine where each child stands concerning proficiency indicators. Additionally, functional literacy tests are conducted in the third and sixth grades, with a decrease in the number of functionally illiterate students observed over the past three years.

The discussion also highlighted concerns within the Ministry about introducing more standardized tests while moving away from an exam-centric model. Diagnostic tests were emphasized for their role in shaping the curriculum and syllabus.

Chairman of the Committee and DIKO MP, Pavlos Mylonas, noted data suggesting that one in two children may fall into the category of special education. He highlighted the need for comprehensive changes in education, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and support for children with learning difficulties.

DISY MP Marios Mavridis stressed the importance of annual diagnostic testing to assess students' needs and support their education. The tests would not be graded but would help identify gaps and areas where students require assistance.

Cyprus  |  education  |  assessment  |  students

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