Students to familiarize themselves with digital tests before national exams

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The Minister of Education revealed today that secondary school students will try out the digital national exam platforms beforehand, tests that will take into account the time needed to solve items in that format.

This year, national secondary school exams will continue to be paper-based, with the exception of a number of students and schools who will take part in the pilot project and sit the exams in digital format.

However, these students will have time to “familiarize themselves with the platform”, revealed the Minister of Education, during the parliamentary hearing requested by IL and PSD to debate the students’ results in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).

“We’re going to be working with schools, students and teachers so that there’s already contact with the digital platforms, to do the pilot that was planned with the adaptation of the students to the answer in digital format, the adaptation of the items that are in digital format,” he told Lusa at the end of the hearing.

These tests will also serve to “monitor variables such as the time it takes to solve different items depending on the digital or paper format”, added João Costa.

Regarding warnings from school principals about the existence of thousands of broken devices and a possible shortage of equipment for everyone to be able to take the digital tests, João Costa said that the situation is practically resolved.

“We have already set up, in terms of contracting, the entire support structure for the maintenance of computers that are not under warranty. These problems are being dealt with,” said João Costa.

As for the failures in the internet network, the minister says that he has asked the Institute for Educational Evaluation (IAVE) “to explain to the schools the options they have to take the tests offline”.

The MPs took advantage of the hearing to ask the minister about the reasons for the deterioration in students’ results in international tests or in the assessment tests.

João Costa said that the results of the benchmarking tests carried out almost a year ago will be known very soon, stressing only that “no mode effects were detected between the results of the paper tests and the digital tests”.

Regarding the PISA results, IL MP Carla Castro pointed out that “41% of Portuguese pupils perform poorly in at least one of the areas applied” and therefore argued that “there is a lack of urgency”.

In response, the minister accused the PSD and IL MPs of making “simplistic” and “reductive analyses” in which “the information that matters is cut down to size”, so that “everything comes down to a set of buzzwords”.

João Costa chose to list the measures implemented by the government in recent years, such as the increase in the number of teachers and staff in schools, more tutoring for those with more difficulties, free textbooks, the return of paid internships or “more than a million in computer equipment” distributed.

His statements led Social Democrat MP Sónia Ramos to accuse the minister of presenting “an electoral summary” instead of discussing the PISA results.

For PSD MP Sónia Ramos, the results show a “failure in learning”.

Left-wing Bloc MP Joana Mortágua pointed to the fact that “teachers without professional qualifications are being hired” as a possible reason why “the recovery of learning is being heavily penalized”.

In response, the Secretary of State for Education, António Leite, recalled that “there have always been” teachers hired without professionalization: “I’m not saying that this is a wonderful thing, but there always have been”.

According to António Leite, these professionals “make up no more than 15% of the total”, or around 3,000 out of more than 100,000 teachers.

At the end of the hearing, PSD MP Inês Barroso called it “unbelievable” how the minister “responded at the hearing” by presenting an “electioneering list”.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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