Assessment, as it is described in the current Primary School Curriculum and other official documents of the Ministry, is considered an integral part of teaching, aiming at the improvement of the pupils’ progress, the teachers’ effectiveness and the curriculum itself. A primary principle of assessment is that it does not aim at the selection or the rejection of pupils.
Teachers are required to adopt a systematic approach to the assessment of their pupils, employing different types of assessment and a variety of assessment techniques. The pupils are assessed on the degree of their participation in class, the results of oral and written tests set out by the classroom teacher, as well as the results of work done in the classroom and at home including project work.
The educational system at the primary level provides for three different types of assessment, the initial or diagnostic assessment, the formative or continuous assessment, and the final or summative assessment:
• The initial assessment is applied at the beginning of a school year or term and forms the basis for planning for the teacher;
• Formative assessment is the prevailing type of pupil assessment, aiming at the continuous monitoring and improvement of the teaching-learning process. It takes place throughout the school year as an integral part of teaching and it provides direct feedback to both teachers and pupils;
• The final assessment is applied at the end of a long period of school work or the whole school year in order to determine the success of its results.
All three types of assessment are undertaken by the classroom teacher. The Ministry recommends that a variety of assessment techniques must be used, such as written tests, classroom observation, communication, and pupils’ self-evaluation.
The results of the assessment are mainly reported by communication with parents. A specific period is assigned each week in the teachers’ timetables, which allows for regular meetings of the parents with the classroom teacher. Written reports on the results of pupil assessment are not provided. Nor a grading system exists.
A proposal for the modernization of the pupils' assessment system
In August 2016, the Ministry of Education and Culture completed a proposal on the modernization of the pupils’ assessment system and handed it over to the teachers’ and parents’ organizations for discussion. The “Unified proposal for the modernization of the pupils’ evaluation system in the public schools of Cyprus” (in Greek) suggests changes and new regulations concerning the public schools from the pre-primary to the lower secondary education level.
Key elements of the proposed system for primary education are as follows:
- Introduction of a grading system of symbols (+), including for the following four positive graduations (+, ++, +++, ++++), by which both the pupil’s skills and attitudes/behaviors and the pupil’s progress in every subject of the school curriculum will be evaluated in the kindergarten and the first four forms, A, B, C, and D, of the primary school;
- In the last two forms of the primary school, the above-mentioned grading system of symbols (+) will be replaced by the alphabetical system A, B, C, D, which is in use now in the gymnasium (lower secondary education);
- Introduction of criteria and indicators guiding the evaluation process;
- Introduction of a pupil’s progress certificate in every form of primary education;
- Division of the school year in two semesters, instead of the existing system of three terms.
Progression of pupils
A child progresses every year from one grade to the next on the basis of age. Only in exceptional cases a pupil may have to repeat a school year because of unsatisfactory progress with the curriculum. This may only occur once during the pupil’s attendance of primary education, and it must have the approval of the school inspector, following notification of the pupil’s parents or legal guardians.
At the end of each school year, each child in public primary schools is issued a progress certificate by the school, stating whether the child should progress to the next grade or not. This certificate is required in order to enrol in the next grade (or in the same grade if the child is repeating a year). At the end of primary education, each child is issued a school leaving certificate stating that the child has successfully completed the cycle of studies of the sixth grade and is entitled to graduate and enrol in a gymnasium.