' Its aim was to share best practices, strengthen capacity building and to optimize resources through cooperation. Capacity building, staffing, reporting and the organization of the Division were the key issues of the arrangement.'
Kosovo – Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST)
Kosovo’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is responsible for both the development of the scientific research and the higher education system, as well as for the promotion of innovation and technological development. Additionally, the ministry is in charge of the formulation of an overall strategy for the development of education, science and technology in Kosovo and the promotion of a single, unified, non-discriminatory and inclusive education system.
The government of Kosovo wanted to upgrade its educational assessment system to modern professional standards.
A twinning approach
As part of the Kosovo Education System Improvement Project (ESIP), Cito was commissioned to collaborate with Kosovo’s Division for Standards, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DSME) in a twinning arrangement in several domains concerning educational assessment. Its aim was to share best practices, strengthen capacity building and to optimize resources through cooperation. Capacity building, staffing, reporting and the organization of the Division were the key issues of the arrangement.
National Framework of Student Assessment (NFSA)
The first goal of the project was to support the development of a system for establishing and maintaining a comprehensive and coherent national framework for student assessment. The main objective of this framework was to describe how student assessment is organized in such manner that well-grounded judgements of student learning are enabled.
Capacity building was an important part of every aspect and all activities as carried out between both twinning partners. Cito’s approach was the following: capacity building is never truly done by only a week-long training on a specific topic. Real capacity building takes place by doing, with guidance from an expert. In order to shape and characterize the twinning arrangement, Cito suggested to form twins for all domains playing a role in the project.
Participation in international assessments
International assessment plays a crucial role in the evaluation and improvement of the educational system in Kosovo. Therefore, an important purpose of the project was to support the division in the participation in international assessments, such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). These assessments provide information on the skills and knowledge of the students compared with other countries. Cito carried out the data analysis and supported the preparation of the national PISA report and an in-depth report with policy recommendations. Cito also supported the Division in making a dissemination plan and capacity building related to writing a PISA report.
National Assessment for Grade 5
During the project, Cito addressed several topics that will improve new National Assessments (NA) in Grade 5. Written reports and capacity building activities were performed that have an impact on the NA. These related mainly to three parts:
1. The theoretical framework of the Evidence Centered Design (ECD) model, and writing competency based items;
2. The workflow and a resulting overview of activities related to the development and implementation of a NA;
3. Psychometric issues involved in the assessment.
The Kosovo Orientation Test is a test that students take in grade 9. The results of this test have an impact on the continuation of students’ educational track. The actions undertaken for this activity were twofold. The first concerned looking back at the previous Orientation test, and the second concerned looking forward to the options that were available for the Orientation test in 2020. This test was not administered because of de COVID-19 pandemic. However, for future reference information on an approach to increase the reliability and the validity of high stakes testing in Kosovo can be given.
National Matura High-Stake Exam
Many of the activities related to the Matura exams concentrated on the improvement of the quality of exams. This concerned capacity building efforts, where much progress was made in the quality of the items, with an emphasis on a competency-based approach to measure the ability of the students. The process of item writing focused on grade 12, where experts from both the DSME and City exchanged test grids, and materials.
We hope our joint efforts in this project over the past three years have helped the division to take the next step in educational assessment and that therefore the twinning has been beneficial for national education in Kosovo in general. We enjoyed working with the local teams and are confident that we have provided our colleagues with additional knowledge, experiences, documentation and best practice to guarantee the sustainability of the project in the near future.
Anneke de Graaf, project director Cito