PIRLS 2021 International Results in Reading

On Tuesday, the 16th the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) published the results of PIRLS 2021 (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study).

In 2021, the number of countries participating in the study increased to 57. A total of 346,992 students worldwide took part in the international study. 5,637 students from 190 schools participated in PIRLS 2021 from Georgia.

The PIRLS 2021 study was conducted under different circumstances compared to previous cycles due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of students were switched to distance learning mode, therefore, the number of students in the classrooms of the schools selected for testing was less than the acceptable percentage of the reliability of the study. This is why, according to the decision of the IEA, in 14 countries (United States of America, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Qatar, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, Croatia, Georgia), students wrote the test in the fall instead of the spring of 2021, and in 6 countries the test was conducted one year later. Therefore, a new stream of fourth-graders took part in the test in these countries.

Considering the mentioned circumstances, the IEA highly recommended not to compare the results of the countries that wrote the test in the fall with the results of the countries that completed the test in the spring.

During the testing period, the average age of students in Georgia was 5 months higher than the average age of students in most countries. A similar situation existed in 13 other countries, where, due to the age difference, it was difficult to compare with the previous cycles. PIRLS data indicated a substantial deterioration in achievement in the vast majority of participating countries.

It should be noted that Georgia is not in the list of countries where the average literacy score has decreased.

Along with the evaluation of the student’s achievements in literacy, the task of the research is to study the impact of school, teacher and family factors on the student’s literacy achievements and the formation of literacy skills. The impact of these factors on student achievement, the main findings and results of the research will be presented later in the form of a national research report.

At this stage, some general findings can be introduced:

  • Out of the 57 countries included in the study, only in 6 countries are boys able to have similar achievements in literacy as girls. In the remaining 51 countries, including Georgia, girls have better literacy achievements than boys. In none of the countries included in the study do boys have an advantage over girls. In Georgia, the difference between the achievements of students by gender is statistically significant and is maintained throughout the entire research cycle;
  • According to recent studies, a comparative analysis of urban and rural schools in Georgia shows the advantage of urban schools in the literacy achievement of students, although the 2021 study shows a reduction in the gap between rural and urban schools due to the improvement of rural school achievement. Improvements in rural school student outcomes were also seen in the 2019 Math and Science Achievement Scores (TIMSS 2019);
  • In the 2021 study, a statistically significant difference between the achievement of students in private and public schools remained. Private school students do better on literacy tasks.

PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) is an international literacy study of fourth-grade students conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) since 2001.

Georgia participated in the last four cycles (2006, 2011, 2016 and 2021). The research group of the National Assessment and Examinations Center is leading the PIRLS in Georgia. The research aims to evaluate the reading skills of 9-10-year-old (fourth-grade) students and determine the impact of such contextual factors as the learning environment, parental involvement, school management, teacher qualifications, information and communication technologies, etc., on the student’s learning process.

PIRLS focuses on the reading goals and comprehension processes of fiction and informational texts. Half of the PIRLS assessment focuses on acquiring literary expertise, and the other half focuses on acquiring and using information.

More on PIRLS 2021 can be explored in English at the link.

“Assessment for Development” Pilot Testing

On Friday, the 5th an intensive pilot testing was successfully completed within the framework of the project “Assessment for Development”. Four days of testing started on the 2nd of May. Each day, up to 14,000 students from 770 public schools were involved in each session.

4th and 6th graders were tested in mathematics, as well as in Georgian language and literature. Pilot testing aimed to test the functionality and the test format of the e-assessment platform.

Dr. Sophia Gorgodze, director of the National Assessment and Examinations Center visited the public school No 122 and observed the testing process on the spot. No errors were detected during the testing, the system proved to be fully functioning smoothly with 14 000 simultaneous entries.

Dr. Sophia Gorgodze, director of the National Assessment and Examinations Center

The National Assessment and Examinations Center started working on the project “Assessment for Development” back in 2019. Since then, a number of pilots have been conducted in order to refine the electronic platform and the testing format, as well as adapt it to the needs of the school as much as possible.

The project “Assessment for Development” aims to assess the achievements of fourth and sixth graders in Georgian and mathematics. The testing is conducted entirely by electronic software: students complete the tasks electronically, and the results are also available electronically.

In the future, the project will give the school the opportunity to observe the trends in teaching and learning both at the individual class level and at the school level in general. In addition, the results will help students and parents gain information about students’ strengths and weaknesses. It should be noted that the obtained points are not reflected in the student’s annual assessment.

CERTUS – English Language Proficiency Testing

On Wednesday, the 19th the representatives of the public and private universities of Georgia got together at NAEC to discuss the partnership within the framework of the project “CERTUS”.

The National Assessment and Examinations Center’s assessment platform “CERTUS” is a great way to test English language  proficiency  and obtain  a certificate in a flash. 

During the presentation the author of the project, the Head of Foreign Languages Subject Group Rusudan Tkemaladze spoke about the contents of the test. According to Ms. Tkemaladze the test evaluates examinee’s level of grammatical structures, vocabulary, as well as reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.

The level of language proficiency is determined in accordance with the levels set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – C1 (high) , B2 (above average), B1 (medium), A2 (below average), A1 (elementary).

The test consists of four parts: 

1. Reading and use of English; 

2. Listening; 

3. Speaking; 

4. Writing. 

The examinee can take the test fully or partially. The parts of the test can be passed in any sequence. 

“CERTUS” is a computer based test. Therefore, the results of reading comprehension and use of English will be revealed upon completion.  However, the results of the speaking  and listening parts will be  known within 10 working days.

The CERTUS language proficiency certificate is recognized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia, as well as accredited private and public higher education institutions. 

The registration for the very first “CERTUS” exam is now open.

Unified National Examinations 2023 Statistics of Optional Subjects

More than 45,000 entrants registered for the Unified National Exams 2023.

  • About 22,200 entrants chose history;
  • Mathematics – more than 15,700 applicants;
  • Biology – more than 3,600 applicants;
  • Chemistry – more than 2,600 applicants;
  • Geography – more than 2,200 applicants;
  • Physics – up to 700 applicants;
  • Literature – up to 1,300 entrants;
  • Civic education – more than 2,000 entrants;
  • More than 300 entrants chose fine and applied arts.

Registration for the 2023 exams concluded on April 3, however applicants had the opportunity to make changes to the list of subjects to be taken or to change the language of the exam until April 13 at 18:00.

The participants in the unified national exams will be able to make changes in the list of educational programs until the day after the publication of the appeal results. The specific number will be published in August.

National School Olympiad Results

National School Olympiad results are already available. 120 brightest minds from around 60 000 pupils have won the major national educational contest in twelve different subjects.

The National Assessment and Examinations Center has been organizing and administering National School Olympiads since 2009. The winners of the national rounds are typically awarded with diplomas and gifts. These students also compile teams for international Olympiads.

National School Olympiads are an excellent platform to hone the learning process of students. Olympiads improve the performance of students in a big way. These exams let in an optimistic approach in students. By participating in Olympiads, the students develop a natural aspiration to learn and gain knowledge.

The questions that come in National School Olympiads are mostly based on the syllabus of the school. The pattern of questions in this exam is somewhat different from that of the school. The students need to have a better and quicker ability to answer such questions.

More and more students are willing to participate in National School Olympiad. One of the reasons for these dynamics is the hybrid assessment model offered by NAEC. The first round of the Olympiad is held online giving all of the interested students an opportunity to try, while the second and the third rounds are administered in person.

Exams 2023 – Registration is Open

Online registration for the Unified National Examinations, Unified Masters Exam and Student Grant Competition started today at 10:00 AM. Eligible applicants should register at online.naec.ge until the 3rd of April 18:00 PM.

The Unified National Examinations are centralized, high-stakes and computer based. The whole process is standardized, every procedure including test development, administration, marking and appellation is in compliance with established regulations and applicants are in equal conditions. By means of valid, fair, and reliable educational assessment the NAEC contributes to the improvement of the quality of education in Georgia.

On Wednesday, the 1st the director of the National Assessment and Examinations Center sat down with media to discuss the registration procedures.

Dr. Sophia Gorgodze encouraged the entrants to pay attention to the registration regulations and deadlines highlighted at the NAEC’s annual “Guideline for Entrants”.

The document includes a list of educational programs, frequently asked questions, news and all the important topics related to the upcoming examination process.

Further information regarding the procedures, fees and other relevant issues are available at www.naec.ge

Information Meetings for Entrants

The National Assessment and Examinations Center continues to host information meetings for university entrants around the country.

On Monday, the 27th, another meeting was held in Kutaisi. University entrants from different schools attended the meeting. The Director of the NAEC Dr. Sophia Gorgodze and Mrs. Maia Gabunia the Head of Examinations Process Management Department delivered the presentation to the guests regarding the admission requirements, registration and other terms and conditions for the upcoming Unified National Exams 2023. The second part of the meeting was dedicated to an interactive Q & A session.

Information meetings or “Open Door Days” are essential part of the NAEC’s annual information campaign. Each year the subject experts as well as the management try their best to meet applicants and cover all of the key topics related to the exams.

It is worth mentioning that the Center held online open door days throughout the pandemic. Currently, luckily, information meetings are held in person. Representatives of the Center have already visited Marneuli, Bolnisi, Gardabani, Mtskheta, Sagarejo and Gurjaani.

Special Report 2022

This is a special year for the National Assessment and Examinations Center as the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary.

For every employee of the Center, this date is memorable, important and meaningful. Despite many obstacles, during its 20 years, the Center was able to initiate one of the most successful reforms in the field of education in Georgia – the Unified National Examinations.
Throughout the years the NAEC has managed to further develop the testing and assessment system and retain the public trust that is really valuable for us.
In this Special Report, we will share what has been achieved during the twenty-year history of the Center, what the challenges associated with the introduction of the first centralized high-stakes examinations were and how the public responded to the reform.

Apart from the introduction of centralized exams in 2005, the other biggest challenge has been holding examinations during the two years of the Coronavirus Pandemic. During the high peaks of Covid-19, our organization proved once again that with the tireless work of our professional team it is possible to achieve the goals even in such arduous circumstances.

In this report, readers will also learn how the exam process is prepared every year and what changed from one year to another.

“Putting PIRLS to Use in Classrooms Across the Globe” – Presentation

On Wednesday, the 25th, the presentation of an e-book was held at NAEC. The book “Putting PIRLS to Use in Classrooms Across the Globe” was prepared based on the materials of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

IEA is an international cooperative of national research institutions, governmental research agencies, scholars, and analysts working to research, understand, and improve education worldwide. PIRLS, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, is one of the core studies of IEA. PIRLS provides internationally comparative data on how well children read and offers educators and policymakers key insights for improving learning and teaching. NAEC has been conducting PIRLS since 2006.

Dr. Gorgodze, along with her colleagues, and the IEA representatives Andrea Netten, Paulína Koršňáková and Laura Cheeseman presented important insights from the book. Primary level teachers attended the presentation which was followed by engaging discussions in two parallel sessions.

In the book, which is dedicated to reading strategies, the example of five countries, including Georgia (Bolnisi Municipality Vill Darbazi Public School & Public School # 2 in Akhalkaki), is given. The book includes the best practices from schools internationally and we are pleased that two schools from Georgia and their practices are among them.

This new resource will help teachers put the latest scientific approaches to reading comprehension into practice. The book is the first in the IEA series which aims to highlight and translate practical information derived from the association’s studies, using the data in a suitable way to give back to teachers.

The book “Putting PIRLS to Use in Classrooms Across the Globe” is available in Georgian.

The First Round of the National School Olympiad

The first round of the National School Olympiad of the 2022-2023 academic year was held electronically from December 9 to December 13.

Any student from grade 7 to grade 12 was eligible to participate remotely anytime during the set dates. The testing time was limited and counted by the special computer program. Tests with different level of difficulty was used in STEM subjects depending on the grades of the participants. However, the same level of difficulty was offered in humanities subjects. The items mostly focused on reasoning and problem solving as well as the general educational background of students.

More than 56 700 students took part in the first round of the of the National School Olympiad including pupils with special educational needs and convicted juveniles.

The second round of the Olympiad will be held in the examination centers and the first 1000 participants with 60% or above in the first round will be eligible. Only the brightest top 50 students in each subject will move to the third round and compete for the national award. Also, the winners of the National School Olympiad will group up for the international Olympiads in the relevant subjects.

The main goal of the Olympiad is to stimulate the learning process and raise the motivation of students.