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New School leaver exams format widely welcomed

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, May 24
The twelfth graders of 1520 public and private schools took computerized school leaving exams for the first time in Georgia on May 23. Exams in the format of Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) have been widely acknowledged throughout the world but Georgia is the first country to hold exams through CAT format in a centralized manner. The system according to the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) has been adapted to the capacity of the schoolchild so that they have been put in the equal conditions.

All the twelfth graders have received special invitation cards with the relevant days of exams in eight subjects: Georgian Language and Literature, Foreign Language, Maths, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Participants can only have ID and invitation cards, pens, a bottle of water and items of personal hygiene and follow general rules of behavior. Proceeding of the exams is also monitored at every school of Georgia with the help of the Information – Technical center operating at the Ministry. 3345 observers from the schools and the National Examinations Center (NAEC) control the entire examination process while video cameras and audio recorders also ensure transparency of the entire process.

The first day of exams was hold in Georgian Language and Literature. The exam started at 9 a.m. at each school and lasted during the whole day in several sessions. Ethnic minority schoolchildren take exams in their own native languages. The CAT algorithm assesses the knowledge of the schoolchildren individually. The original duration of each exam is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Some students dealt with their tasks in 10-15 minutes, while others took much more time.

School principals and pupils were all satisfied with the testing process on the first day of the nation-wide exams. There were testing netbooks connected to the internal internet source uniting all the 1520 schools all around the country. “176 twelfth graders are taking the school-leaving exams and all of them have been satisfied with their achievements,” Amiran Jamagidze the Principal of Tbilisi Classical Gymnasium told the media. Pupils entered the testing rooms in groups during the end of the day. Those who have successfully dealt with the tests claimed that everything had been done at their schools for making them calm during the process. Tornike Gogishvili and Marlen Duduchava the twelfth graders expressed their satisfaction with the tests saying they were neither too difficult nor too easy for them.

The MES and NAEC have been undertaking the preparatory works for the exams for the whole year as Abituri hours gave the schoolchildren an opportunity to get prepared for each exam; all the schools were provided with internet access and have been supplied with computers and modern technical facilities, while IT specialists were selected through an open competition to provide the necessary technical support to the exams.

Summarizing the results for the first day of the nation-wide exams Minister of Education and Science of Georgia Dimitri Shashkin stressed that the Georgian educational system has been absolutely ready to hold such high-leveled exams. “We had been observing the process from the examination media centre through online regime during the entire day and everything has been fine so far. I’m absolutely sure that most pupils will deal with the minimal competence level,” said the Minister welcoming the successful start to the process.

The school-leaving exams will last until June 2 and the MES will define the minimal competence level for each subject individually after summarizing the general results. Following the psychologists’ advice, the Minister said the MES would encourage pupils and that all satisfactory scores would still be valid even if they fail in other subjects. It means that each participant would only need to re-take exams in the subjects in which they had previously failed. Expressing his confidence that the most part of the pupils would deal with the CAT Shashkin highlighted the fact that all the successful participants would get the school-leaving certificates.