Tuesday, 24 August 2010

PISA Under Examination: Katharina Maag Merki's Keynote Speech

Katharina Maag Merki gave a keynote speech at the symposium entitled, "Central Exit Exams as an Instrument to Improve School Effectiveness? Results of an Empirical Study in Germany."

The notes from the speech are as follows:
  • Exit exams - comparison of student achievement under centralized and decentralized exit exams.
  • Students' motivation and learning strategies have no negative effect in the individual learning of students.
There is no consistent picture on the effects of implementation of exams on school processes.
  • Germany vs. the USA - differences in testing systems.
  • Bremen, for example, has decentralized local exams but centralized state exams.
  • There is an overlap in achievement in Germany between the Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium
  • There is a lack of standards in assessment
  • students with the same achievement levels are recommended to different tracks
  • central "A-level" exams
  • e.g. Bremen in 2008 had centralized exams for basic and advanced studies
There was no real difference in achievement between centralized and decentralized exams at the basic level.

Advanced math increased in achievement.

Advanced English showed improvement in the first year, but a decrease afterwards.

Conclusion: There is no effect of centralized exit exams on achievement.

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