OECD Report: Learning outcomes of students in Georgia are improving, however equity remains to be a problem
On 19 November 2019 UNICEF Georgia Office and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia are launching the OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: Georgia.
The OECD Report reviewed the context, assessed the strengths and weaknesses of general education in Georgia including pre-university school system, engaged with stakeholders and provided concrete policy recommendations.
The OECD Review addresses four dimensions:
- student assessment
- teacher appraisal
- school evaluation
- system evaluation
Each dimension provides the country-tailored actionable policy recommendations based on national and international evidence and experience.
The review has revealed that Georgia has seen significant recent improvement in educational outcomes. From 2009 to 2015, 15yearold students in Georgia improved their learning in reading, mathematics and science by roughly a full grade level.
However, Georgia’s progress has not been equitable across all population groups. Urban students outperform rural ones; socioeconomically advantaged students outperform their disadvantaged peers; and students who speak Georgian at home, outperform those who do not. These gaps in performance have widened from 2009 to 2015.
In Georgia, student assessment is still used mainly to grade students, not to help them improve their learning. Formative assessment is not a central focus of teacher practice to improve student performance and learning. Teachers do not use a wide variety of assessment techniques and prefer to assess students mainly through multiple-choice tests that do not assess a broad range of skills.
Developing students who are ready to compete in 21st century economies requires teachers who are knowledgeable, skilled and motivated to continue improving. Teachers in Georgia participate in professional development much less than teachers across OECD countries. Data from PISA 2015 indicates that almost 30% of primary teachers, and around 30% of secondary teachers have not received any initial teacher preparation. In contrast, virtually all practising teachers in OECD countries receive initial preparation.
Authorisation has now been applied to the country’s 225 private schools and Georgia’s original intent was to extend authorisation to public schools by 2021. The purpose of authorisation in Georgia is to maintain compliance with national school standards. Unlike school evaluation in OECD countries and economies, authorisation in Georgia does not evaluate educational quality or take into account school outcomes like student retention or assessment results.
Educational evaluation and assessment systems need to be developed to detect areas of low and inequitable performance and address them before they become entrenched.
In particular, student assessment should more accurately identify student achievement, teachers need to be trained to give students better support, schools should be given more oversight to help them succeed.
Teaching can be improved by supporting teachers to develop professionally throughout their career, supporting them to meet minimum standards, setting high standards for entry to teaching and provide more structured support in the early years, attracting new teachers and motivating them to succeed. Teachers need to receive more regular guidance to develop professionally. The report suggests how Georgia can design a regular appraisal system that will provide teachers with formative feedback linked to their professional development opportunities.
- Schooling can be improved by continuing with plans to authorise all schools, but prioritising supporting schools that are in most need of improvement.
- A comprehensive school evaluation framework should be developed and regularly applied to enable the system to monitor schools and link their results with formative consequences.
Among suggested recommendations, attention is paid to the need to prepare for a single examination model in which one test would certify completion of upper secondary education and select students for entry into higher education.
The report is the first-ever result of a joint venture in Georgia and has become possible due to a close and effective collaboration established between the MoESCS, UNICEF and OECD. Throughout 2018-2019, number of national and international specialists, field researchers and education policy makers have been engaged in this partnership working for assessing the situation and planning of recommendations for required reform initiatives and actions in the field of general education in Georgia. The Review draws from OECD comparative quantitative and qualitative data to frame Georgia’s general education system including school system arrangements in an international perspective and provides analysis and elements relevant to education policy and outcomes in Georgia.
For details visit: OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/