Strengthening evaluation and assessment in Romania is key to educational reform
Romania’s education system has made significant progress in recent decades, strengthening institutions and improving students’ learning outcomes. But while a minority of Romanian students excel, nearly 40% of 15 year-olds still do not master basic skills according to PISA 2015 and almost 20% leave school before completing upper secondary education.
To further improve quality and equity, the OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Romania says that the country needs to enhance its evaluation and assessment system so that every student has a chance to reach their full potential.
“It is hard to improve what is not made visible and measurable,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director of Education and Skills, launching the report in Bucharest. “To give every student access to a quality education and boost well-being and national growth, Romania needs to set higher aspirations for teaching and learning that are aligned with its new curriculum, and better support students, teachers and schools to achieve them.”
Romania is currently implementing an ambitious new curriculum, focused on student-led learning and the development of key competencies. But student assessment is out of step with the aspirations of its new curriculum, according to the report. While it aims to ensure that all young Romanians develop twenty-first century competencies, examinations remain focused on a narrow range of academic knowledge and limit the educational future of the majority of students. Their prominence also limits the space and value given to teachers’ classroom assessment, which is the most powerful driver of student learning.
Romania should redesign its examinations to recognise a broader set of skills and review their function, particularly in Grade 8, so that all students stay in education of equal quality for longer. Teachers’ classroom assessment practices should be developed through initial education and continuous professional development, and by creating more space for teacher-led assessments.
To reach higher standards, both teacher appraisal and school evaluation need to be refocused on evaluating teaching practice and the learning environment, rather than compliance with procedures.
Evaluation and assessment also needs to provide more support to build capacity and a more collaborative culture of teaching. Teachers need feedback from experienced teachers and mentors on how to improve. Using County School Inspectorates to provide tailored support to schools in each county will leverage the inspectorate’s close relationship and knowledge of local schools to drive improvements.
The report is available here
For more information, journalists should contact: Elizabeth.FORDHAM@oecd.org.