Joint Response to COVID-19 – The Unified National Examinations 2020 and the Students’ Grant Competition Successfully Concluded

The Unified National Examinations and The Students’ Grant Competition in Georgia ended on July 25, 2020. Procedures for marking the exam scripts and assigning grades have started and the results will be announced gradually. Candidates will be able to see their exam scripts and check their results in the first half of August on the web addresses of the National Assessment and Examinations Center

Approximately 94% of the applicants took the Unified National Examinations, and more than 78% participated in the Students’ Grant Competition.

The Unified National Examinations 2020 started on July 6 and was administered in 24 examination centers established all over Georgia: Tbilisi,Batumi, Poti, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Kutaisi, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Rustavi, Telavi, and Khulo.:

“Another important stage of the examination process is over. I thank each participant in this process – both the examination staff and the examiners – for following all the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of Georgia..

The preliminary results of the university entrants will be published in the first half of August, and the results of the teacher candidates will be published in the second half of August

Sophia Gorgodze, Director of National Assessment and Examinations Center

The Teacher Certification Examinations for the beginning teachers started on July 22;

The Students’ Grant Competition took place on July 25 and the Master’s Graduate Entry Examinations will start on the 1st of August.

To make sure that the candidates are safe recommendations related to the New Coronavirus including the desk barriers, fever screening, social distancing, etc. have been adopted. All the recommendations developed by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia are thoroughly followed by the National Assessment and Examinations Center.

The number of applicants registered for examinations 2020 in Georgia:

  • Applicants for the United National Examinations — more than 39 300
  • Applicants for the Students’ Grant Competition — more than 3 600
  • Applicants for the Master’s Graduate Entry Examinations — more than 12 600
  • Applicants for The teacher certification examinations — up to 12 000.

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Georgia and COVID-19: A Decisive Response

Timeline of WHO’s response to COVID-19

EXAMS 2020 Summary Interview with Sophia Gorgodze, Director of National Assessment and Examinations Center (In Georgian language).

The Teacher Certification Examinations for the Beginning Teachers Have Started

The Teacher certification examinations for the beginning teachers started on July 22nd and will end on July 30.

12.000 applicants will take the subject examinations this year. The detailed information on the time and place of the exam is indicated on the examination card. Please note to appear at an examination center on time and have your ID and examination card with you. Applicants arriving late will not be permitted to enter the examination rooms.

On July 22nd the applicants will take the exams in the following subjects:

  • Georgian language and literature, Mathematics and Natural Sciences (I-IV grades);
  • Georgian Language and Literature (Primary Education);
  • Natural Sciences (Primary Education);
  • Mathematics (Primary Education).

The exams take place in the first half of the day. To ensure the safety of the examiners, all the recommendations developed by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia are followed.

The examination centers are located in the following cities: Batumi, Poti, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Kutaisi, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Tbilisi, Rustavi, and Telavi.

All medical facilities in the examination centers are equipped with first aid kits. The emergency vehicles, ambulance, and police patrol cars are mobilized on the premises.

According to The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, teacher certification exams for practicing teachers are postponed and will be conducted in autumn by the National Assessment and Examinations Center (NAEC).

Video about Exams 2020 (Author: Kakhaber Goginava)

Examinations 2020 in Georgia and COVID-19: A Successful Response

The Unified National Examinations 2020 for the university entrants has started on July 6 and will be finished on July 25. The Students’ Grant Competition will be held on the 25th of July while the Master’s Graduate Entry Examinations will start on August 1 and be finalized on August 4.

To prevent spreading the new coronavirus, maximize the protection of the health of the candidates, and simultaneously ensure the high-quality management of the examination process, the commission comprising relevant state agencies and supervised by Prime Minister has been created. Due to the coordinated work of the commission members, the rules concerning the safe performance of the Unified National Examinations, the Master’s Graduate Entry Examinations and the Students’ Grant Competition have been adopted.

According to the recommendations of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, candidates and observers are allowed only in 50% of the area of every examination sector. The examination tables’ front side is equipped with a transparent barrier/shield; the distancing between the examination tables is a minimum of 2 meters and the space between the examination tables disposition is 1 meter.

Examination desk shields, thermal screening, appropriate distancing, and thorough observance of every recommendation concerning the coronavirus spread prevention made it possible to allow candidates write the exam without wearing the face mask after they take their seat at the examination table.

According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), alongside the natural ventilation (open window) air conditioners have been allowed. If the room temperature reaches or exceeds 30 Celsius air conditioning can be turned on, however at this point everyone in the examination room must wear the face mask.

When air conditioning is allowed following rules must be observed:

  • Physical distancing;
  • Mandatory rule of hand hygiene protection;
  • Respiratory etiquette;
  • Mandatory rule to wear a face mask;
  • The airflow coming out of the conditioners should not be directed at the persons in the examination room; 
  • The windows of the examination room must be open at all times. It is mandatory even if the air conditioners are turned off  because the risk of spreading the infection is high in the closed space;
  • The re-circulation of the air is prohibited.

Due to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and by the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, face masks must be worn in the examination center during the specified cases (except for the candidates with a body temperature of 37 °C and/or the candidates with any other respiratory symptoms because they must wear the face mask at all times during their presence at the examination center):

  • Before seating at their examination table;
  • While leaving the examination sector;
  • While Communicatorng with others;
  • While the air conditioner is switched on.

The examination personnel must wear face masks at all times. The personnel responsible for thermal screening must also wear transparent face shields and observe strict hygiene measures.

To review the recommendations noted above, you can visit the official website of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia through the following link.

Video about Exams 2020 (Author: Kakhaber Goginava)

NAEC and NCDC against COVID19

implementing public health measures and to avoid #COVID19 transmission, Georgian National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) (@NCDCGeorgia) with Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia (MESCS) (@MESCS_Georgia) and National Assessment & Examinations Center (NAEC) (@NAEC), was actively involved in planning of the Unified National, Common Master’s, Teachers Competence exams and the student grant competition.

Georgia: Assessment for Development

Publication about NAEC presentation on the 3rd FLIP+ annual online event, 11th – 12th June 2020 (Link)

How do we build an assessment that guides educational decision-making on different levels? How can we use technologies to leverage the use of assessment data for the improvement of teaching and learning?

Assessment for Development is an e-assessment project in Georgia which aims to design and generate assessment data that guides the improvement of teaching and learning on different educational levels.

The assessment is fully online. Items are created and delivered to the students via the TAO testing platform. The results are collected and analyzed through in-house built e-reporting system. E-reports provide elaborated analysis on the strength and challenges for each student, as well as teaching and learning trends on classroom and school levels.

The project was piloted in February 2020 with 6 000 students so as to trying out the items and online test-delivery system. The next pilot is planned to test the e-reporting module and its compliance with e-delivery and e-scoring modules.

SEC’s suggestion of the resources for the Azerbaijan schools in Georgia

SEC’s (State Examination Center of the Republic of Azerbaijan) suggestion of the resources for the Azerbaijan schools in Georgia

  1. Trial exams on the Azerbaijani language for different grades: (Link)
  2. Trial exams on the Azerbaijani literature for different grades: (Link)
  3. Visual lessons on the Azerbaijani language: (Link)

Trial exams are charged, but SEC could make them free for Azerbaijan schools in Georgia.

NAEC in 3rd FLIP+ annual online event, 11th – 12th June 2020 (Link)

About FLIP+ e-assessment community

The FLIP+ e-assessment community was officially launched as a non-profit association in June 2019.

It grew from first conversations dating back to January 2017 between the official education assessment bodies from four countries (France-Luxembourg-Italy-Portugal: hence the acronym) who were seeking solutions to common challenges in e-assessment. The assessment center (CAEd) from Brazil joined this initial group in 2018, and ever since several other institutions and bodies from many countries have expressed their interest in the initiative. Georgia Joined in 2019.

NAEC became the member of international FLIP+ E-assessment Community in 2019 to discuss and share challenges and success stories of e-assessment project. As a community member, NAEC can share the experiences in e-assessment content development, as well as in TAO open source development by composing extensions for the platform (e.g. portable computer interaction for the development of different interactive technology-enhanced items, reporting features for the platform, offline version for test delivery and etc.). NAEC can work on certain extensions for the platform in cooperation with other countries, thus sharing the budget for the development, or exchange already developed extensions free of charge.

3rd FLIP+ annual online event, 11th – 12th June 2020 (Link)

During its third international FLIP+ online event , the FLIP+ association gathered over 100 participants from 50 different institutions working in the field of educational assessment. Participants joined in from 24 countries as well as from IEA and OECD.

Under the FLIP+ motto of “sharing”, participants were able to learn about the e-assessment experiences of countries like Denmark, Georgia, Lithuania and Norway and gain insights about developments in six other FLIP+ member institutions. Work undertaken this year related to the FLIP+ Item Library was also presented. It should be recalled that the first ideas to set up the item library were initially discussed during the 2019 annual event in Rome. A year later, participants greatly welcomed the live demo of the initial prototype of the Item Library platform which showed where the items would be stored, how they could be accessed, reviewed, worked upon and shared.

Publication about NAEC presentation on the 3rd FLIP+ annual online event, 11th – 12th June 2020 (Link)

Georgia: Assessment for Development (Link)

MOU between NAEC and SEC

The National Assessment and Examinations Center of Georgia (NAEC) signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Examination Center of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SEC)

On 20 May 2020, Sophia Gorgodze –Director of the National Assessment and Examinations Center of Georgia (NAEC), Maleyka Abbaszade – Chairperson of SEC’s Board of Directors, as well as the senior executives of both parties met in a video format.

During the meeting, the parties expressed satisfaction with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), discussed the progress of the first stage of this partnership in the following areas and shared mutual expectations of the next stage, as outlined in the MoU:

  1. SEC’s support on the development of an item bank of the Teachers Certification Exams for the Azerbaijani language and literature teachers working in Georgian secondary schools with Azerbaijani as the language of instruction;
  2. Review of the SEC’s Georgian language test items for school-leaving exams (grade 9 and 11) by the NAEC;

It should be noted that the assessment instrument constructed with the SEC’s support on Teachers Certification Exams for the Azerbaijani language and literature teachers working in Georgian secondary schools with Azerbaijani as the language of instruction will be used for differentiating and rewarding performance as a part of the Azerbaijani language and literature teachers’ certification.

The following projects are expected in the next phase of this mutual cooperation:

Organization of online item development training by the NAEC aimed to improve the Georgian language assessment by Georgian language teachers working in the secondary schools of Azerbaijan.

Provision of online learning and teaching resources as well as practice tests by the SEC for the Azerbaijani language and literature teachers working in Georgian secondary schools with Azerbaijani as the language of instruction;
Exchange of used exam papers available in English and Russian on different subject areas;

Sharing best practices between SEC and NAEC through regular videoconferences;
Parties also discussed the characteristics of exams held during the pandemic and shared country specific challenges in test administration and contextualized solutions.

Source:

(Publication in Georgian)
(Publication in Azerbaijan and English Languages)

Project : Assessment for Development

The Government of Georgia in June 2019 has signed Loan Agreement for financing the implementation of Innovation, Inclusion and Quality Project (I2Q Project) with the World Bank[1]. The Project development objectives are to (i) expand access to preschool education; and (ii) improve the quality of education and the learning environments.

Project – Assessment for the Development is under I2Q project component 2, Subcomponent 2.4 – Development of a National Assessment Framework. It aims to implement census-based e-assessment (fully online mode) for the public schools of Georgia. The goal of assessment is to measure students’ achievements towards the national curriculum and track their progress. About 150 000 students of 4th, 6th and 10th grades will be assessed in literacy and numeracy every year. Students, their teachers, parents, corresponding schools and educational authorities will receive the automated e-reports on the assessment results, in order to support data-driven decision-making processes on individual, classroom, school and national level.

The initial phase of the project has already started in 2019 and draft framework for the assessment has been elaborated, as well as e-tests in literacy and numeracy for 4th and 6th grades. Two pilot phases have been planned for 2020 in order to try-out the content of the tests, to trial the platform and develop business processes for the e-assessment.

NAEC already has hired the staff, exclusively for the Assessment for Development project: project manager, project assistant, TAO administrators, system administrator, developer, literacy and numeracy experts.

The first pilot took place in February 2020. 6 000 students from 59 schools participated in the pilot in order to try-out the items and online delivery platform.

The items were created and assembled in the tests:

  1. 5 tests for the numeracy in 6th grade. Each test comprised 20 items. The items were developed based on the national curriculum of the 6th grade math;
  2. 4 tests were developed for the 4th grade numeracy, with 25 items each. The items were developed based on the national curriculum of the 4th grade math.
  3. 10 texts, with 14 items in each, were developed to test literacy skills in the 4th grade.
  4. 10 texts were developed to assess 6th grade literacy skills, each text included 8-9 items to assess reading and writing skills for the 6th grade, as defined by the national curriculum of Georgian language and literature.

Students’ responses were analyzed and the items were edited based on the psychometric analysis. The set of the tests were assembled for the second phase of the pilot.

Project team analyzed existing test authoring and delivery platforms and selected OAT (Open Assessment Technologies) TAOTesting open Source eassesement software (TAO). TAO platform enables to create technology-enhanced items (TEIs) and ensures complete content interoperability. It offers: item authoring, test creation, scheduling and delivering tests online on a nation-wide scale, managing test-takers and user access, collecting and saving students responses, automatically grading candidates closed-question responses and exporting the data for further use.

There are several arguments why TAO Testing eassessment platform was chosen:

  1. Community edition it is free Open source and can be installed and used without any charges;
  2. It is the only computer-based assessment software built as an open source and with open standards (IMS Global learning Consortium QTI and LMI Open Standarts).
  3. It gives opportunity to customize and develop the soft in line with the project needs and assessment objectives;
  4. TAO is built using Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standards. QTI represents assessment content and results in such a format that can be easily exchanged between authoring and delivery systems, repositories or learning management systems. It enables to migrate the data from TAO to any other platform as needed by the project;
  5. TAO platform is already in use by the ministries of education in different countries.
OAT TAO

Community edition of TAO platform is installed on the local Education Management Information System (EMIS) servers. EMIS and NAEC provide the hosting and delivery services for the platform.

NAEC became the member of international FLIP+ E-assessment Community in 2019 to discuss and share challenges and success stories of e-assessment project. As a community member, NAEC can share the experiences in e-assessment content development, as well as in TAO open source development by composing extensions for the platform (e.g. portable computer interaction for the development of different interactive technology-enhanced items, reporting features for the platform, offline version for test delivery and etc.). NAEC can work on certain extensions for the platform in cooperation with other countries, thus sharing the budget for the development, or exchange already developed extensions free of charge.

Version 1.0 of e-reporting and e-scoring modules have been developed and integrated with TAOtesting platform. E-reporting module generates the reports for student, teacher and school based on the data collected from the student responses. E-scoring module enables the human scorer to score the student responses collected from TAO testing platform. Both modules are ready for the trial in the 2nd pilot of the project.

The second pilot is planned in autumn 2020, involving 300 public schools of Georgia. It aims to try-out the tests (instead of trying-out the items in the first pilot), to test human scoring and e-reporting system and its compliance with Tao platform.

[1] (Link)