Higher scores expected in O-Net tests
NEW EXAM PREPARATORY SYSTEM IN FORCE
>> 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%.