Higher scores ex­pected in O-Net tests



>> Ed­u­ca­tional au­thor­i­ties are ex­pect­ing im­proved re­sults in the Or­di­nary Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tional Test (O-Net) af­ter be­ing given a proper out­line of course con­tent and a range of skills that will be tested.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Teer­akiat Jare­on­set­tasin said he was look­ing for­ward to higher O-Net scores in every sub­ject as the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tional Test­ing Ser­vice (Ni­ets) had fol­lowed his pol­icy of pro­vid­ing stu­dents with con­tent out­lines and skills, which al­lowed them plenty of time for prac­tice.

“This is the first year that we have given out O-Net test ex­am­ples ... for stu­dents to prac­tise on be­fore tak­ing the real tests. So av­er­age scores are likely to in­crease in every sub­ject,” Dr Teer­akiat said on a visit to Rachaw­init School in Dusit, Bangkok, yes­ter­day.

Dr Teer­akiat said this year’s O-Net test in­cludes a writ­ing test in Thai that will con­trib­ute 20% of the to­tal marks for the first time.

The writ­ing sec­tion will al­low ex­am­iner to bet­ter eval­u­ate a stu­dent’s an­a­lyt­i­cal ca­pac­ity and help to ad­dress is­sues of il­lit­er­acy in the Thai lan­guage, he said.

“The writ­ten exam is be­ing pi­loted among pri­mary school grad­u­ates be­cause the ef­fect on sec­ondary school grad­u­ates would be too dras­tic as they have never had to sit a writ­ten exam be­fore.

“If the writ­ing sec­tions start bear­ing fruit, Ni­ets will grad­u­ally ex­pand them to other sub­jects,” he said.

Dr Teer­akiat said he planned to de­velop an “E-Test Bank”, a data­base-driven web­site on which stu­dents will be al­lowed to ac­cess Ni­ets’ O-Net ques­tions and an­swer keys at any time.

The data­base will also be de­vel­oped as a mo­bile app for stu­dents to prac­tise for the na­tional exam and PISA-like as­sess­ment.

The E-Test Bank and the app are ex­pected to be com­pleted within this aca­demic year, he added.

Ni­ets di­rec­tor Sam­pan Pan­pruk said he had in­structed the writ­ers of the O-Net test to care­fully check the con­tent of the exam’s ques­tions and an­swer keys in or­der to pre­vent er­rors and am­bi­gu­ity which had made head­lines and were heav­ily crit­i­cised by the gen­eral pub­lic in the so­cial me­dia in re­cent years.

Mr Sam­pan said Ni­ets had also pre­pared more than 2,000 well-trained staff to mark the writ­ten O-Net test, which needs to be done within 20 days af­ter the last day of the exam.

“Our mark­ers are all well trained and won’t know stu­dents’ names to en­sure fair and just re­sults. I’m con­fi­dent that our mark­ing process com­plies with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards,” he said.

O-Net tests are con­ducted an­nu­ally by Ni­ets to mea­sures stu­dents’ ba­sic knowl­edge in five key sub­jects: English, Thai, math­e­mat­ics, so­cial stud­ies and gen­eral science.

All grade 6, 9 and 12 stu­dents must at­tend the test to as­sess their aca­demic pro­fi­ciency. O-Net scores are par­tially used for univer­sity ad­mis­sion. The num­ber of stu­dents tak­ing the exit exam each year is about 2 mil­lion.

In the last aca­demic year, stu­dents’ av­er­age O-Net scores were be­low 50 in each of the tested sub­jects. English and math­e­mat­ics were the sub­jects with low­est av­er­age scores — 24.98 and 26.59 re­spec­tively — while Thai lan­guage had the high­est av­er­age score of 49.36. The re­sults for so­cial stud­ies and gen­eral sciences were 39.7 and 33.4 re­spec­tively.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry’s 20-year Strate­gic Plan, one of its short­term goals in­cludes rais­ing the av­er­age O-Net scores of stu­dents in every sub­ject to above 50%.

MO­MENT OF TRUTH: Grade 6 stu­dents yes­ter­day take the Or­di­nary Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tional Test at Wat Ben­cham­abophit School in Bangkok to as­sess their aca­demic pro­fi­ciency.

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