EVALUATION OF MATURITY EXAMINATIONS AND 10TH GRADE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT EXAMINATIONS IN LITHUANIA
Before the fall of the „iron curtain“ most of the socialist countries had highly centralized education systems, where inputs were strictly controlled. However, outputs were rarely assessed through any centralized system. After the collapse of the communism countries of the region underwent the reverse process: they decentralized their educational systems and liberalized inputs, but at the same time started to introduce elements of centralized assessment of student achievement. Transition to market economy stimulated post-communist countries to look for more effective and efficient models of schooling. Limited possibilities of public spending during the transitory period forced them to focus on the impact of educational resources on the level of student achievement.
Centralized secondary school examinations in Lithuania were run for the first time in 1999. They eventually replaced the entrance examinations to universities and colleges. Their results are currently used for the purposes of student selection and allocation of state grants. The 10th grade national assessment examinations were introduced in 2000. In 2011 the 10th grade examinations in mathematics and native language were made compulsory. The examination tasks are produced by National examination centre, but, unlike the maturity examinations, they are marked by local teachers.
However, it remains unclear to what extent these two types of examinations can supplement each other, as they rely on different methodological principles and use different marking systems. Therefore the first aim of the study was to find out to what extent the results of these two types of examinations correlate and to identify the predictive value of 10th grade national assessment examinations to maturity examinations. The second aim was to investigate the relationship between educational input and level of student achievement.
In the study we used individual level data for the entire Lithuanian student population, who have taken maturity examinations for the 2014-2018 period. The data was provided by the Centre of Information Technologies in Education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. The study examined the results of mathematics and Lithuanian language maturity examinations and compared them with the results of 10th grade national assessment examinations.
Results indicate that the average score of 10th grade assessment examinations is always higher than the average score of maturity examinations. There is a strong correlation between the scores of both types of examinations (Spearman‘s correlation is around 0.8 with p-value<0.001); however, lower scores of 10th grade assessment examinations have stronger predictive value than the higher ones. The relationship between educational input and level of student achievement was estimated using multiple regression models.
Several decades of practising external evaluation revealed not only merits, but also shortcomings of the centralised assessment model. One of the possible suggestions for improvement of the system is to use the 10th grade national assessment examination results as a component of higher education admission process – in conjunction with the maturity examinations.
This research is funded by the European Social Fund according to the activity ‘Improvement of researchers’ qualification by implementing world-class R&D projects’ of Measure No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712. The project No. DOTSUT-39 (09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0018) / LSS-250000-57.