University of Cambridge > > 5th Cambridge Assessment Conference: Challenges of assessment reform > Meeting the challenges of change in assessment systems: A Maltese perspective

Meeting the challenges of change in assessment systems: A Maltese perspective

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Currently in Malta they are at the initial stages of reforming the system of assessment used in the upper primary and lower secondary classes. The main focus of the reform is on the replacement of the two selective examinations that channel primary school pupils to different types of secondary schools according to their achievement with non-selective assessment that recognises diversity and promotes a holistic education. This is the second time that the reform has been attempted. The first time was in the 1970s when it failed dramatically after a few years in operation and the traumatic experience it generated has left a scar on the Maltese educational psyche. Since then, thousands of 16-year-olds have completed compulsory schooling without external certification, with low self esteem and no enthusiasm for further learning.

This time round they must ensure that the reform succeeds. Professor Frank Ventura believes that for this to happen they must recognise the challenges faced in the 1970s and explore why they overwhelmed the thrust of the reform. His presentation will discuss the changes in educational assessment proposed in the 1970s and the reactions to them. He will then compare the challenges of the 1970s with the ones they face today as he believes that they are not very different though the context is certainly different.

This presentation traces the experiences of change in the Maltese context, however, the identification of the challenges involved applies to other contexts, especially those where ‘high stakes’ examinations are still important in determining educational progress.

This talk is part of the 5th Cambridge Assessment Conference: Challenges of assessment reform series.

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