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QUALITATIVE BENCHMARKING STUDY OF TESTS EXECUTED BY GRADUATES OF SPECIALIZED SCHOOLS FOR GIFTED CHILDREN

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August 10, 2015 - Department for secondary education development of Information-Analytic Center JSC prepared analytical review called «Analysis of the UNT results». As experts say practice of holding the UNT annually plays an important role in achievement of strategic goals on modernization of Kazakhstan's education.  Materials of the analytical collection include strategic data on the UNT outcomes-2015 in the context of the benchmarking study of the testing on general subjects in different regions and within every two years.     

The study is focused on determination of the main trends in the level and quality of high school graduates preparation and on identification of the possible ways how to improve the educational process. Analysis and interpretation of the UNT outcomes-2015 have been held based on the data presented by the National Testing Center.

The collection for the first time presented the qualitative benchmarking study of the testing executed by graduates of specialized schools for gifted children. This context enables to more broadly evaluate academic achievements of school children that get educated under specialized educational programmes.    

It is noted that 4 171 graduates from 111 specialized educational organizations (in total 121 schools) participated in the UNT-2015 procedure. In terms of regions the predominant share of graduates from the total number of schools that participated in testing come from Almaty and Astana and Pavlodar oblasts. As experts say this category of schools is different from usual ones with additional academic load on major subjects that positively influences the level of students' academic performance  and their results in the UNT. So the average grade of graduates was 95,99 points that is 16,57 points higher than the Republican indicator.  The highest results were recorded in the regional specialized boarding school for gifted children in Uralsk city.

Students of specialized schools with military, sport and musical directions were less successful with testing, experts noted in the analytical collection.

Thus, the lowest average grade was recorded in the regional specialized boarding school for gifted sport children in Taldykorgan city. 32 graduates (59,3%) scored less than 50 points.

At that 11 schools have been found to have scores less than the average grade across the country. Among educational organizations with low scores in 4 specialized schools more than half of graduates gained from 0 to 49 points. The largest number of such school children has been recorded in «Zhas Ulan» specialized boarding lyceum for boys  named after Sh.Ualikhanov for gifted children of Semey city (20 out of 30 students).

As a whole 83 262 graduates (66,9% of the total number) from 4 922 Republican schools took part in the UNT-2015. It is noted that this indicator is lower than results of 2014 (-2%). Experts relate decrease of students enrolment in testing in some way to increase of graduates that took part in different international olympiads. - Another reason is entrance of students into Universities located in neighbouring countries and beyond where the UNT certificate is not required.

At the same time the number of test administration sites is held increased by 10 units that shows expansion of rural students access to testing (2014 - 155, 2015 - 165 units).

Total result of students enrolled in testing was 79,42 points that is 2,5 points higher than 2014 indicator. Benchmarking study of testing results for the last four years shows steady growth of the average grade that is related to successful implementation of efficient educational training technologies and a high level of motivation and students preparation for testing.

Dynamics of the average UNT grade in 2011-2015

The best testing results were recorded in Almaty (92,1 points) and Astana (86,7 points).

The lowest average grade was scored by graduates of Atyrau oblast (61,01 points) while the share of enrolled participants was high (73,2%).

Experts think that comparison of testing results between educational organizations with the highest/lowest average scores is necessary not to differentiate schools but to enable executive bodies use this data while decision making on increasing the efficiency of education and bringing up process at schools and preparing graduates for testing.

The share of graduates that confirmed their «Altyn Belgy» award this year has estimated 44,5% out of claimed 4 397 people.

5 graduates (2014 - 4) scored maximum possible 125 points, and 14 467 people - more than 100 points (17,4%).

12% of rural students and 7% of urban students have failed to overcome threshold point.

The average score of rural graduates is 7,35 points lower than the average score of urban graduates.

The highest quality of testing results on compulsory subjects was recorded on the «Kazakh Language» (84,18%), and low quality - on «Mathematics» (62,02%).

More than 33% of graduates chose «Biology» as the main subject; the least requested subject is the «French Language» (0,02%).

The high-performance main subject is the «German Language» (18,96 points).

Experts consider that to increase the level of secondary education it is necessary to pay a lot of attention to low-performing school children and students from vulnerable social groups. Besides the important aspect is considered to be the material and technical base of schools, their provision with libraries and information and communication technologies.

Concerning positive changes in the UNT procedure experts note the following. Firstly, ICT technologies have been used for the first time to inform the population of testing results on time: the UNT scores were available online. Secondly, since current year certificates have included the average score on the subject based on the academic performance of the graduate within the last academic year and the UNT score (earlier the certificate included the UNT score only) for fair assessment of students' knowledge. Thirdly, a new approach has been applied to assess the quality of students' preparation for testing in regions: earlier the average score was considered but this year the composite UNT index has been developed and it included three ratios as follows: participation ratio, violation ratio and the average score ratio.