Secondary School External Examination Systems: Reliability, Robustness and Resilience (Google eBook)

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Barend Vlaardingerbroek, Neil Taylor
Cambria Press, 2009 - Education - 362 pages
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Summative assessment has been a contentious issue in educational circles for several decades, particularly high-stakes assessment events which arise at various junctures of the school cycle, especially those at the end of it. The French Baccalaurat and English A-Levels and their numerous clones throughout the francophone and anglophone worlds are household names and represent milestone events in people's lives, as their outcomes are principal determinants of young people's future prospects. These examinations are external--they are devised, conducted and processed by agencies outside the schools, usually ministerial examination units. As such, they act as 'blind' arbiters of student achievement, providing the proverbial 'level playing field' which ensures the comparability of outcomes. In the pyramidal school structures of yesteryear, examinations acted as filters, regulating the progression of pupils to subsequent tiers of formal education. Exit points occurred from primary school level up, from where unsuccessful candidates could enter the labour force and/or embark on occupationally specific further education and training. With the modernisation of the labour market and an ever-higher social demand for access to higher levels of formal education, the filtering function of examinations at lower levels of schooling has been gradually eroded, while burgeoning numbers of students at the upper secondary level have brought about reforms that include curricular diversification and sometimes radical overhauls of terminating assessment systems (including the modification and, in some instances, abandonment of external examinations). This edited volume brings together the experiences of twentyexamination systems from around the world to show how these dynamic entities have adapted over time to the changing context of schooling. Following an introduction by Stephen P. Heyneman of World Bank repute, there are sixteen chapters presenting Country Case Studies, which have been written up under common subheadings, thereby highlighting the comparative nature of the work and facilitating cross-referencing. The subsequent four chapters elaborate on the theme of 'external examinations beyond national borders', including a contribution by the International Baccalaureate Organisation. A defining feature of the work is the attention it pays to what it calls the 'nuts and bolts' of external examinations, from question-setting to grading procedures. These are, it is argued, instrumental in nurturing and maintaining public confidence in external examinations. The book will be of immense value to people involved in educational policy studies, especially strategic educational planning, as well as those directly concerned with formal assessment. The work has been written to appeal to a wide audience of informed persons--it is accessible to teachers and interested laypeople, as well as to academics.
  

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Contents

Introduction The Importance of External Examinations in Education
1
Country Case Study France
15
Country Case Study England
29
Country Case Study Australia New South Wales
55
Country Case Study Canada Alberta
81
Country Case Study Malaysia
103
Country Case Study Malaysia
121
Country Case Study South Africa
135
Country Case Study Hungary
213
Country Case Study Austria
225
Country Case Study Russia Karelia
241
Country Case Study Azerbaijan
253
External Examination Beyond National Borders Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Examinations Council
265
External Examinations Beyond National Borders New Zealand and the Cambridge International Examinations
291
External Examinations Beyond National Borders Queensland Australia and the International Baccalaureate
303
External Examinations Beyond National Borders The International Baccalaureate
319

Country Case Study Lebanon
153
Country Case Study Pakistan
167
Country Case Study Bhutan
179
Country Case Study Vietnam
189
Country Case Study Greece
197
Synthesis External Examinations in Retrospect and Prospect
337
List of Contributors
351
Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Neil Taylor has previously run a tour company specializing in the Baltics, and has been traveling regularly to the Baltics ever since independence enabled them to open to tourism in 1992. He is author of the Bradt guides to "Estonia" and "Tallinn" and divides his time between London and Tallinn.

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