- July 16, 2013
New exam assessment arouses controversy
Virginija Būdienė, the adviser of the Lithuanian president Dali Grybauskaitė for education, culture and non-governmental organizations, has recently admitted that this year’s modified exam assessment system has not always worked efficiently.
“There has been a change in assessing the exams – the so-called normative assessment has been got rid of, as the results are set now together in one row. (…) This has gave rise to a chaos, presumably due to lack of information. In the Office of President we are being constantly delivered plenty of letters of the students and their parents concerning some of these incomprehensible issues” – announced Būdienė in the interview for the „Žinių radijas” radio station.
In spite of this statement, the adviser of the president claims that the exam results have not been unexpected.
“The exam results certainly did not come as a surprise. Two or three exams emerged as being failed by the vast majority of the graduates: the exam in Lithuanian language and literature, which was not passed by approximately 10% of the students, (…) the exam in Information Technology was astonishingly failed by approximately 18% all of the students” – claimed Būdienė.
Virginija Būdienė also declared that the exam results are to be delivered to the National Examination Centre in order to analyze them in depth. “The detailed analyse should be prepared and presented to the politicians and our society in autumn” – she assured.
The advisor of the president does not agree with the statement that the Lithuanian linguists allegedly attempt to control Lithuanian language in an excessive manner. “Our life has become European, we have considerably more contact with the inhabitants of various countries but it definitely should not be equal with setting less store by our official language. There will never be enough love and attention for Lithuanian” – exclaimed Būdienė.
Despite the fact that the exam results did not seem to be shocking for the politicians, the students themselves appeared to be quite astonished.
– To our dismay, the results of Lithuanian exam proved to be extremely surprising, especially when it comes to the results of one student who was assessed with 8-grade (in Lithuanian 10-point grade scale), yet she did not succeed in passing the final examination, whereas those pupils assessed with 5-grade did – commented Irena Wolska, headmaster of Grammar School of J. Śniadecki in Šalčininkai. – No one would expect achieving the total number of points, but certainly it was possible to pass this exam. The appeal regarding reconsidering the exam results was lodged, but the National Examination Centre refused to do so, giving an ultimate answer: “Without any changes”. Nevertheless, the other exams of the student mentioned above were passed to a satisfactory standard.
The headmaster of Grammar School of J. Śniadecki, Irena Wolska, has also noticed the reduced number of points in the exams.
– Last year we had eighteen graduates who scored 50-100 points, as opposed to only eight such students this year. This is a tremendous difference. Every single year we had at least one student who managed to accomplish total number of points (100) in Lithuanian, numerous students achieved 90 points and above as well, as opposed to this year, in which the highest pass rate constituted merely 82 points.
To what extent will the failed Lithuanian exam have an impact on the near future of the students?
Those graduates who did not manage to attain this exam at the state level, succeeded in passing it within the scope of their school education – remarks Irena Wolska. – This mark has been completed in their high-school diploma. Another issue concerns the tertiary education admission. The mark of Lithuanian exam plays the most crucial role in the process of enrolling in the university course – thus, if one succeeds in being admitted, the further education it will require an extra payment, since it would be fee-paying one. Hopefully our student who failed her Lithuanian exam will be admitted to the Gediminas Technical University and she will have to cover the cost of her education of only one upcoming semester.
– I honestly do not know what the pass rate would look like if there had not been any changes made to the previous assessment system, whether or not the results would be better. No one knows it right now. Yet, when compared to the last year results, there is a huge difference. There is no comparison between them. One year ago all the graduates managed to pass the exams. In contrast, this year one student failed the Geography exam, three Lithuanian exam. Apart from that, it could be described as fairly satisfactory, our students did well in the exams: nineteen students passed their exams in Maths and History respectively, the pass rate of the exam in Information Technology and English was also acceptable, and finally one our student managed to attain 100 points in Russian exam. In fact, it did not go wrong at all. Only the results of Lithuanian failed to live up to our expectations – commented the headmaster of the Polish Grammar School in Šalčininkai.
According to the data gathered by the education council of the Šalčininkai District Municipality, 10% and 40% of the graduates attending Polish and Lithuanian schools respectively, failed the Lithuanian exam. Precisely one hundred students were eligible to take the Lithuanian exam in Polish schools in the Šalčininkai District Municipality, ten of whom failed (three of them attended the Grammar School in Šalčininkai, another three – the Butrymańska Anna Krepsztul High School, one – the Michał Baliński High School in Jašiūnai, one – the Ludwik Narbutt High School in Koleśniki and two – the Paweł Brzostowski High School in Turgiele).
The graduates attending Lithuanian schools in the Šalčininkai District Municipality accomplished distinctly worse results. Forty students out of eighty eight of those eligible to take the exam in their native language – failed the tests. Only in „Tukstantmečio” Grammar School in Šalčininkai nineteen students, among forty nine, did not pass as well, likewise eight out of seventeen graduates of the „Rapolionio” Grammar School and finally four amongst six students of „Aušros” High School.
Tłumaczenie by Joanna Mirek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Joanna Mirek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.