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Administration Almaty - selection test

'The assignments are made in a different form. They are made so that the capacities of the child are visible, and they are not focused on testing knowledge.'

Administration Almaty - selection test
Ravil Jakoepov Director Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools

Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) are an initiative of the government of Kazakhstan intended to educate the future intellectual leaders of the country. This network of elementary and secondary schools teaches students in a trilingual environment of Kazakh, Russian, and English.


NIS’ mission is to enhance the intellectual capacity of Kazakhstan through the development and implementation of an innovative, Mathematics and science-orientated, trilingual, model of school system that integrates the best of Kazakhstani traditions, and that meets international standards of best practice.


NIS accepts talented, motivated students, with the aim of developing them into critical thinkers and independent learners. Therefore, NIS wanted to develop a fair student selection system to identify and select students for Grade 7, that are capable of studying and succeeding in Intellectual schools, further education and professional life.

The assignments are made in a different form. They are made so that the capacities of the child are visible, and they are not focused on testing knowledge. So, for example, where in the past the assignment for English consisted only of translating a text, now the child is not asked for the literal translation, but rather for its knowledge of the idea behind the text and of details.

Ravil Jakoepov, director NIS school

Long lasting and strategic partnership

Since 2011, NIS and Cito have an intensive collaboration. Cito supports the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in thefollowing areas:

  • Development and implementation of a selection test
  • Training item developers
  • Train-the-trainer-program
  • Analyzing and reporting on test results
The developed tests are unique, and they are only used in NIS schools. The contests that take place in these schools fully comply with international standards.

Nico Dieteren, senior consultant Cito

Assessment contest

Each year, in the beginning of March, NIS and Cito organise an assessment contest to select the most gifted students for a six-year educational program that will prepare these young children for an academic career. About 17,750 children, aged 10-12, participate in this contest. The 20 schools, in 17 different cities, each have their own selection contest. Cito senior consultants are present each year to monitor and evaluate the objectivity, quality and fairness of the process. A comprehensive and explicit video of all stages in this high-stakes selection procedure, can be found on the NIS website.