Exams in secondary education are roughly going back to normal, although some of the flexibility from the corona years remains.
Exams in secondary education are roughly going back to normal, although some of the flexibility from the corona years remains.

Picture: Nanne Meulendijks

Exams largely as before corona

The school exams will largely be as before corona this school year, Education Minister Dennis Wiersma decided yesterday. Relaxations such as the 'thumb regulation' and a third period are disappearing. However, the administration period will be slightly more flexible, particularly in pre-vocational secondary education.

What deviates from 'normal' in the coming examination period is that the second period will be extended from four to ten days. In principle, students take their exams in the first period. But 'disease and quarantine can be handled better in this way', the minister writes in his letter sent yesterday brief to the House of Representatives.

Challenging

The minister thought it was a difficult decision, because, he writes: 'for some students the situation is still challenging'. But final exam candidates simply have to be well prepared for society, the labor market and further education, says Wiersma.

'Some of the teachers are concerned about the impact of corona and the well-being of the students'

AObdirector Jelmer Evers responds: “In conversations with our colleagues about the final exams, we also noticed these two directions. Some of the teachers want to go back to normal. They are mainly concerned about the quality of the exams. Some also want to keep the second resit. These colleagues indicate that they are concerned about the impact of corona and the well-being of the students.”

Concerning the exams in pre-vocational secondary education*This concerns the digital flexible exams and the central written and practical exam (cspe) Wiersma extends the purchase periods until the last school day of the last holiday region. For pre-vocational secondary education staff in the center and south of the Netherlands, their summer holidays may start later as a result. “If employees do this voluntarily and against decent compensation, good agreements can be made about this,” says Evers.

Thumb control

Due to the corona pandemic, both the administration options and assessments of the exams have been adjusted in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Wiersma concludes that especially the thumb rule, which allowed students to cross off a poorly made subject for assessment, had a noticeable effect on students' motivation, strategic learning behavior and skills. Evers of the AOb: “It is important that exams retain their value and continue to provide access to further education.”

'Mathematics most popular subject for pre-vocational secondary education students'

Just like last year, the ministry commissioned research into the results and skills of the final exam students. As a result of the earlier relaxations, pre-vocational secondary education students in particular have become less good at mathematics. They were allowed to cross out this subject, unlike havo students and pre-university students, and did so en masse. From the final exam monitor 2022 it turns out that mathematics in pre-vocational secondary education was by far the most chosen subject to cross out.

Support

It is also striking that Minister Wiersma wants to further 'expand, enrich and adapt' the range in the National Education Program (NPO), in order to support the efforts of students and teaching staff towards the final exams. From the recent NPO progress reporte shows that the delay in learning growth in math and spelling is increasing.

Also read: 'Backlog and dropout are increasing as a result of corona'

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