MONITORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SECONDARY EDUCATION: COMPARING THE RESULTS OF MATURA EXAMINATIONS AND 10TH GRADE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT EXAMINATIONS IN LITHUANIA
One of the aims of introducing maturity examinations in Lithuania in 1999 was to use the examination results for allocating study grants and to replace former entrance examinations to universities and colleges. Another strategic goal was to develop the system of monitoring the achievement of students throughout the whole period of their schooling. The 10th grade national assessment examinations were introduced in 2000, and in 2011 the 10th grade examinations in mathematics and native language were made compulsory. Eventually national testing was also introduced in grades 2, 4, 6 and 8. Though currently the national monitoring system includes all grades of secondary school from 2 to 12, the results of national testing and examinations seldom attract the attention of policy analysts. In particular, progress of student achievement in national examinations was not included in the list of indicators of the recent Plan of National Development for Years 2021-2030. PISA was chosen as the only student achievement study, results of which should be considered as a landmark for educational development during the next decade. Apparently the importance of monitoring the effectiveness of secondary education was underestimated as the results of the national examination were not considerd important enough to be included in the strategy. In order to examine whether these results could be valid indicators of progress of student achievement, we conducted a study in order to find out to what extent the results of maturity examinations and 10th grade national assessment examinations correlate and to identify the predictive value of both examinations.
In our 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.
Findings indicate that results of 10th grade national assessment examinations in mathematics and native language are not valid predictors of the results of maturity examinations. Results of maturity examinations in mathematics during the 2014-2018 period are not comparable as the level of the difficulty of tasks each year was different and the tasks were prepared by different groups of experts. Our key recommendation is to ensure the comparabilty of results of maturity examinations and the 10th grade national assessment examinations. Eventually in developing education strategy for the forthcoming decade politicians should not rely solely on PISA results but also take into account the results of the national examinations and testing.
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.