E-Test Entering the Final Period

The national project which supports the implementation of electronic testing in primary and secondary schools is approaching the final period. In less than three years, nearly two thousand schools and hundreds of teachers and students have been involved in this project.

A modern and secure testing tool known as E-Test assesses students' knowledge in an online form (with Internet access) and in offline form (with no Internet access). No less than 1,656 primary and secondary schools may use this system up to now, having access to a database containing more than 40,000 tasks and 72 tests in various subjects and literacies. Tasks were created about 700 primary and secondary school teachers and their inclusion into the database was subject to a demanding approval process.

In addition to general education subjects, social sciences, and natural sciences, teachers may test students on financial, statistical, mathematical, scientific and reading literacy. The database contains tasks and tests mainly for students of second degree of elementary schools as well as secondary school students, who are the project's main target group.
The advantage of the E-Test system is a fast and objective feedback. Students can check their results almost immediately after the completion of testing. The E-Test brings shorter lesson preparation time to the teachers, simplifies administration and saves money for printing and distribution of tests.

Nearly 550 contractual schools that meet technical, organisational and other requirements have become part of the "certification schools" group already during the project. Their students could try out the national testing of elementary school ninth-graders (T9) or the external part of the secondary school-leaving examination (Maturita) in a modern electronic form. "We are delighted with the positive response from the students, but also from schools that have trusted us and thanks to them, the Testing 9 or even such an important exam as Maturita is, could have been both performed electronically. In the offline variant, the teachers praised to have a greater level of certainty, and in the online variant they said that it was easier in terms of processes,” Mrs. Ivana Pichaničová, Director ad interim of NÚCEM said.

In the past school year, almost 1,700 pupils preferred PC screen to paper and PC keyboard to pen in Testing 9. That means the electronic form replaced more than 3,500 sheets of paper. External secondary school-leaving exam in electronic form E-MATURITA 2015 replaced 4,434 paper-based tests, while E-tests were preferred by students of 176 (of 200 selected) secondary schools in Slovakia.

The successful conduct of the national project could not have been possible without intensive cooperation between the project staff and teachers. Inspiring feedback, as well as active participation in training, have created a suitable climate for further modernisation of our education. "Each teacher will surely appreciate the tasks that were created and included into the database by their experienced colleagues. Working in the E-test interface is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to use," commented on the testing system Ms. Kvetoslava Danková of Thomas Aquinas Grammar School in Košice. She also sees the positive reactions of students: "They especially appreciate the fact that their results are obtained immediately after they finish the test and they do not have to wait a couple of days until the teacher corrects and assesses them," Danková added. A similar experience has also Ms. Veronika Gabaľová of an eight-year grammar school in Trnava: "Since there is a big shortage of tasks useful for teaching and practising, I evaluate the development of collections of tasks for specific thematic issues and grades very positively. The practical benefit is particularly great in the fact that the students can see their preliminary results immediately after the test is finished, which also frees the teacher from correcting tests," Gabaľová said.
The project "Increasing the quality of primary and secondary education with the use of electronic testing" co-financed from the European Union resources was launched by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in March 2013. The project has been implemented by the National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements (NÚCEM), which had set four main objectives already at the beginning: improving the quality of education in primary and secondary schools using e-testing, developing a nation-wide electronic database of tasks and tests, more effective comparison of the school results in the regions and supporting expert potential of teachers.

The result of the national project, as well as recommendations for the near future, will be the primary topics of the final conference Electronic Testing - Experiences and Challenges,which is to be held on 20th and 21st October 2015 in Hotel Bratislava. The ambition of the organisers is to create a space for the mutual exchange of information and experience in the field of electronic assessment and quality of education. In addition to speakers from Slovakia, also experts from the UK, Finland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and neighboring Hungary will participate actively. The Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, Mr. Juraj Draxler took patronage over the conference.
Basic facts about the national project *:
Project duration: March 2013 - November 2015
Number of participating schools: 1,656 / (1,100 elementary schools, 556 secondary schools), of which certification schools: 537
Number of trained teachers in the development of testing tools: 4,000
Number of trained teachers in work with the E-Test system: 3,210
Subjects in the task bank: Slovak language and literature, Slovak language and Slovak literature, Hungarian language and literature, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, History, Biology, Civic education, English language, German language, Russian language
Literacy tasks in the bank: mathematical, reading, scientific, statistical and financial
Number of tasks created: 44,246
Number of created tests: 72
* Data as of 21st October 2015