RIYADH: Two educational agencies are administering examinations to about 500,000 pupils in 20,000 Saudi schools over the course of 10 days “to assess the educational achievement of students in elementary and middle schools.”
The National Assessment for Schools began in Saudi Arabia’s primary and middle schools on Sunday to “assess the educational system,” according to Dr. Abdullah Al-Qataee, executive director of the National Center for Assessment, which is affiliated with the Education and Training Evaluation Commission.
The tests will be conducted by the Education and Training Evaluation Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Education until June 14.
The goal of the national tests, Al-Qataee said, is to develop the educational system, “not the student.”
“One of the test’s objectives is to provide data to decision-makers and to provide them with an honest, reliable and comparative assessment of how well students grasp the requisite skills and information,” Al-Qataee told Arab News.
While the education official said that the test is free, he added that it is a requirement for students, picked at random, in the classrooms.
According to the Education and Training Evaluation Commission, the test’s target sample includes 500,000 students from 20,000 schools.
The assessments are scheduled to take place before the end of each academic year, through a single national test including reading, mathematics and science for the third, intermediate, sixth and third grades of primary, in public, private and international schools.
The test is conducted according to educational outcomes derived from national standards of the educational curriculum in conformity with international standards.
It will be applied to the third intermediate grade, which began on Sunday for four days, and to the sixth and third elementary grades from June 9 to June 14, while science will not be included in the third elementary children’s assessments.
This is the first time in Saudi Arabia that such tests are being conducted at the state level, encompassing all primary and secondary schools.
A nationwide assessment of this type provides trustworthy data to help decision-making and encourage competition among schools, education offices and directorates, as well as giving accurate measurements of some key performance indicators for the human capacity development program, which is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
According to Al-Qataee, the results of the national tests will be published on platforms such as Tarteeb (https://tarteeb.edu.sa), with the goal of “letting parents know the performance of the schools their children attend.”