Institutions responsible for evaluation in the area of early childhood care
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs monitors compliance with the standards for quality of care in the children's groups (dětské skupiny) by the provider and financing from the State budget. The control of the fulfilment of conditions and obligations in the provision of care in children's groups, i.e., in facilities authorised to provide this care, is performed by the State Labour Inspection Office and regional labour inspectorates, established according to the Labour Inspection Act. Matters relating to catering, space and operation fall within the competence of the regional public health offices, established based on the Act on Protection on Public Health.
Institutions responsible for evaluation in the area of early childhood and school education
Institutions responsible for evaluating the education system
The Czech education system is to a large extent decentralised. Therefore, the education system as a whole is evaluated by:
- the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport as the central state body in the field of education
- the Czech School Inspectorate as a specialised evaluation body
For more details, see Evaluation of the education system.
The basic data for evaluation of the education system – statistical data on school performance, on employees in the field of education, and economic data – is provided by the department of the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education also stimulates and encourages other evaluation activities, both national and international; while some others are commercially based.
Institutions responsible for external evaluation of schools
Evaluation of schools and school facilities is systematically carried out by the Czech School Inspectorate. Irrespective of the organising body, all schools included in the School Register are evaluated by the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate is governed by the Education Act and the Decree on Detailed Conditions of Organisation of the Czech School Inspectorate.
The Czech School Inspectorate was established by a law passed in 1991 and is an administrative authority with a national responsibility. At present, the Inspectorate is operating according to the 2004 Education Act. It is an organisational unit of the state and a budgetary unit. It meets objectives stipulated especially by section 174 of the Education Act. The Czech School Inspectorate is composed of its headquarters in Prague 5 and 14 Regional School Inspectorates, which have their seats in regional cities (in Prague 6, there are the seats of two regional inspectorates, Prague (Pražský) and Central Bohemia (Středočeský), at the same address). It is headed by the Chief School Inspector, the inspection activities are carried out by the school inspectors, controllers and invited persons. The activities of the staff are not limited by the territory in which their inspectorate is located; in making up inspection teams inspectors can be included in a team anywhere in Czechia according to their qualification or competence for a given type of school.
The Inspectorate prepares Conceptual Plans of the Evaluation Activities (currently for the period of 2021 to 2030) and procedures for the evaluation of education system. The evaluation activities are carried out on the basis of the Plan of Main Objectives and according to the Criteria for Evaluation of the Conditions, Course and Results of Education and School Services. Both documents are approved by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports for each school year.
During the inspection activities the Inspectorate:
- collects and analyses information on the education of children, pupils and students, on the activities of schools and school facilities registered in the School Register, evaluates the effectiveness of the educational system;
- checks and assesses the conditions, process and outcomes of education according to respective school education programmes and valid curricular documents and the conditions and course of providing counselling services in schools and school guidance and counselling facilities;
- checks and assesses the content of the school education programme and its compliance with legislation and the framework education programme;
- checks adherence to legislation, related to providing education and school services;
- executes public administrative control of the use of state funds.
The School Register can also serve as an instrument for external evaluation (the public register of schools and school facilities and school legal entities) as one prerequisite for including an institution in the school register is the institution's material and personal assessment.
The founders (organising bodies) of the schools and school facilities can also carry out their evaluation according to the criteria published in advance. However, such evaluation is rare, usually performed only by regions, and covers only economic aspects.
Bodies responsible for internal evaluation of schools
School heads are responsible for the internal evaluation of schools. The form of the internal evaluation is currently not enshrined in legislation.
The self-evaluation of schools is in case of basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) the groundwork for preparing the annual report on the school activities (approved by the school council – školská rada). The school self-evaluation provides background for external evaluation by the Czech School Inspectorate.
The schools prepare the school's development conceptual plans in cooperation with the school council.
Bodies responsible for the evaluation of education staff
The evaluation of teachers and other education staff is often carried out directly by the school head of the school (or school facility), but he/she may entrust, for example, his/her deputy. The organising bodies of schools or school facilities are responsible for the evaluation of school heads.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
Evaluation in the area of early childhood care
Care for children in a children's group (dětské skupiny), intended for children from 6 months until the beginning of compulsory school attendance, is different from education in a nursery school (mateřská škola) and is also subject to separate Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group. The law divides the competences in the field of external evaluation between several bodies.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs monitors compliance with the standards for quality of care by the provider and financing the provision of the service through an operation contribution from the State budget. Both areas, and thus their control, were introduced by an amendment to the Act of 2021. The Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group specifies the content of the criteria in following areas:
- childcare and meeting the needs of the child (quality of the plan of education and care, the process of adapting the child to the group, monitoring the child's development, and communicating with the child's parents about the child's needs and development)
- staffing (care of employees, quality of further education of childcare staff)
- operational security (compliance with internal rules, ensuring the safety of children, dealing with emergencies)
Compliance with the standards for quality of care is assessed by a scoring system (0–2 points), with the standards considered to be met if at least 1 point is counted for each criterion. If the provider does not comply with the quality of care standards, the Ministry is entitled to impose measures on the provider to remedy the identified deficiencies; the provider is obliged to comply with the imposed remedial measures within the set deadline.
State Labour Inspection Office and regional labour inspectorates check compliance with legal requirements, inter alia:
- statutory conditions imposed on early childhood care staff
- compliance with the internal rules of the children's group
- keeping records of children in a children's group
- compliance with labour relations
Regional public health offices check compliance with sanitary standards (for premises, catering, etc.) according to the Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group, the Decree on Sanitary Standards in Institutions and Facilities for Education of Children and Youth, and the Decree on School Catering.
Internal evaluation of children's groups is not regulated by law.
Evaluation in the area of early childhood and school education
Evaluation in nursery schools (mateřská škola), basic (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře) and school facilities is governed by the Education Act. It includes evaluation of the education system, external evaluation of schools (at public administrative and pedagogical level), internal evaluation and a number of other evaluation activities. The evaluation of education staff takes place only at the school level.
Evaluation of the education system
Evaluation of the education system is carried out at the national and regional level according to the Education Act.
Evaluation of the education system by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports evaluates the Czech educational system both at the level of regional education (from pre-primary to tertiary professional education and the activities of school facilities) and at the level of higher education institutions. The Education Act and the Higher Education Act impose an obligation on the Ministry to prepare an annual report for the above areas (levels). Since 2012, the Ministry has been issuing a joint Annual Report on State and the Development of the Education in the Czech Republic, which it submits to the government. Separate parts are devoted to each area, the third part contains statistical data. The Annual Report on State and the Development of the Education is based on statistical and economic data, the annual report of the Czech School Inspectorate, regional annual reports and other information resources. Once every four years, the Ministry of Education draws up Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of the Education System of the Czech Republic, approved by the Government (in addition to other strategic documents, such as, e.g., Strategy for education policy of the Czech Republic 2030+).
Furthermore, the Ministry of Education carries out preliminary, interim and subsequent inspections of the correctness and effectiveness of the use of funds allocated by the ministry or contracted funds, through the Czech School Inspectorate and its public administration control of schools and school facilities. It also carries out its own statistical surveys and educational research. Other research is carried out by autonomous higher education institutions. Since 1990 several international evaluation activities have been taking place; many of them are currently carried out by the Czech School Inspectorate.
Evaluation of the education system by the Czech School Inspectorate
The Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) draws up Conceptual Plans of the Evaluation Activities (currently for the period of 2021 to 2030) and systems for the evaluation of education system. In schools, it acquires and analyses information on education and school activities and monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of the education system. The output of the inspection activities for the past school year is the Annual Report of the Czech School Inspectorate, which contains summarised findings on the current situation of education and the education system. The Chief School Inspector submits it to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports by 30 December and it is published annually in December. The reports are divided in two parts: the evaluation part and the factual part, comprising graphs, summaries and tables. Annual report outcomes are the background for the Long-term Plan for Education and the Development of Education System of the Czech Republic.
In line with the Plan of Main Objectives (Work Programme) for the year in question, the Czech School Inspectorate also conducts thematic surveys. The summarised knowledge gained from this inspection activity and its analysis are included in thematic reports. As part of the survey, the CSI uses, in addition to on-site inspection activities (or control of compliance with legal regulations), also inspection electronic surveys (INEZ) on the InspIS portal. Through it, it submits questionnaires to school heads or other actors in schools. Within some topics, the portal is also used to carry out a sample survey of educational results – testing.
Evaluation of education system in regions
Regional authorities provide an evaluation of the education system in their region in an annual report on the state and development of education system in the region. This is submitted to the Regional Assembly and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and published in a way that enables remote access. The structure and content of annual report of a region are set down by Decree Which Sets the Requisites of Long-term Plans, Annual Reports. It has following parts:
- an evaluation of the situation on individual levels of the education system regardless of the school's statutory authority
- an economic section
- evaluation of the fulfilment of the long-term plan in region, its goals and measures in the past period including its compliance with the long-term plan of the Czech Republic
The annual report in a region depicts the current situation and evaluates changes as compared to the state in the preceding annual report in the following areas:
- pre-primary education
- basic education
- upper secondary education
- tertiary professional education
- education of children, pupils and students with special educational needs and gifted children, pupils and students
- basic artistic and language education and education developing personal interests
- guidance services
- school facilities
- staff in education
- in-service training of teachers
- further education within the framework of lifelong learning
- the prevention of risk behaviour (socio-pathologic features), environmental and multicultural education, education of foreigners and the members of national minorities, and education for sustainable development
- participation of schools in the development and international programmes
The conclusions of the annual report form the foundation for the preparation of long-term plans of the regions.
External evaluation of schools
The Czech School Inspectorate carries out inspection activities on the basis of a Plan of Main Objectives stipulated for a school year, which is being submitted for approval to the Minister of Education, Youth and Schools until 15 July for the subsequent year and made available on the website. In addition, inspection activities are carried out in response to initiatives, complaints and petitions which come under the Inspectorate's sphere of responsibility. In the case of an inspection carried out following a complaint, the Inspectorate investigates individual claims stated in any complaint that lies within its competence. The results of investigation are handed over to the school's statutory authority for further action. This body informs the Inspectorate on how the complaint is dealt with and on possible measures to resolve it. It is specified in an internal regulation that Inspectorate informs on the inspection results both the grievant.
While assessing the conditions, process and outcomes of education and educational services, the Inspectorate bases its work on principles and objectives stipulated by the Education Act and other legislation valid for the education sphere. The fundamental criteria of assessment are how effective is the support of the personal development of children, pupils and students, and the achievement of educational goals on the part of schools and school facilities.
The assessment follows the Criteria for Evaluation of the Conditions, Course and Results of Education. The Inspectorate submits (until the 15 July) the Criteria for the following school year to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports that is the responsible body to approve them. The Inspectorate makes the Criteria available on its website.
The inspection process has three essential phases:
- preparatory phase (preliminary inspection activity)
- direct inspection activity in schools (on the spot)
The inspection cycle of visits to schools is six years in agreement with the six-year term of appointment of the school heads. If shortcomings are identified during the inspection, another inspection is carried out after a shorter interval (according to the seriousness of the breach and the time appointed for the rectification), to assess whether these shortcomings have been rectified.
The Chief School Inspector decides upon the inspection activities (their quantity) that the employees of individual inspectorates have to accomplish in a given school year. The Director of the Inspectorate (under exceptional conditions the Chief School Inspector, possibly the Deputy for the inspection activities) decides upon the date, form and personnel provision of the inspection activity in schools.
1. Preparatory phase (preliminary inspection activity)
Preliminary inspection activity is carried out outside of school (or school facility). The team determines, analyses and evaluates particular school activities using secondary data sources – public resources (School Register), the previous inspection report, and a range of other documents (i.e. school websites, newspaper articles, complaints relating to the school, results of the testing of pupils). Preliminary inspection activity is a part of the preparatory phase for the following assessment or a control. The methods mainly used for the assessment are comparative textual analysis, qualitative and quantitative inspection analysis of documents and inspection calculations.
The team leader also requests the school education programmes and the annual reports for last 3 years from the school head. Consequently, the compliance of submitted education programmes with the framework education programme for the relevant education is assessed. The team leader asks the school head to prepare the compulsory school’s documentation for the first day of the inspection at the school. The team leader may obtain further information on the school from the relevant body of the state administration, organising body and the school council (školská rada).
In general, the team leader advises the head of a school of the precise term of inspection activity, together with requirements for the inspectors' activity. In case of an ex parte inspection or inspection based on a complaint, the school head can be informed on the day the inspection starts at the school.
2. Direct inspection activity in schools (on the spot)
The average duration of the direct inspection activity in schools or school facilities (on the spot) is 2–3 days. At the beginning the team leader informs the head of the school of the subject of the inspection which is stated in the written authorisation for the inspection.
During this activity the inspection team gathers primary data on school, verifies the secondary data acquired by preliminary assessment and on representative sample confirms data provided by the school in School Register, statistical register and data in the Register of Pupils. This inspection is based on data from the self-evaluation of the school and measures taken by the school to these findings.
Methods used are based on the subject of the inspection. As a rule, the inspection includes:
- study of compulsory school's documentation (e.g. the registry of pupils and students, the School Code, continuous professional development plan)
- class observations
- directed interviews with the school head regarding the conditions, processes and results of education, possibly also directed group and individual interviews with other school staff
- interviews with pupils and possibly parents
- an inspection of the premises
- study of pupils' work
The school head, his/her deputy, chairperson of a subject commission, etc. can be asked to participate in observations. It is not the school inspectors’ task to assess teachers' performance in teaching, as the quality of education is the responsibility of the school head. Directed interviews with teachers are also part of the inspection and these take place mainly after observed lessons. The interviews are focused on the teachers’ conditions for their work at the school. School inspectors evaluate the educational process at school on the basis of their findings and ensuring instruction by the school head in terms of the staff and material conditions. During their work at school they can participate in meetings of the pedagogical council, subject commissions, and School Council, etc. If necessary, they can also carry out questionnaire surveys or submit an inquiry to pupils and/or their parents.
The school head or a school employee charged by them, and an accredited deputy of the responsible body are entitled to be present during any inspection activities in school. In the final stage of the direct inspection, the inspection team presents the preliminary findings and assessment of the school’s work to its head; the school head can express his his/her view.
Under the Education Act the outcomes of an inspection are:
- the inspection report on the identification and assessment of conditions, the process and outcomes of education by the school education programmes, and the identification and assessment of the content of the school education programme and its compliance with legislation and the framework education programme;
- a record according to a special regulation of state control and public administrative control of the use of funds;
- a thematic report analysing information on the education of children, pupils and students, on the activities of schools and school facilities, while evaluating the effectiveness of the education system;
- the Annual Report of the Czech School Inspectorate.
The inspection report is a public document. It contains the subject of the inspection activity, an assessment of the school’s work in the areas investigated according to the subject of the inspection activity, first names, surnames and signatures of school inspectors, controllers and other engaged persons, and the listing of the documents which the inspection report is based on. The school inspector, possibly a controller, discusses the content of the inspection report with the head of school (or school facility), who signs to confirm that the report has been discussed and accepted. The school head can submit comments on the inspection report to the Inspectorate within 14 days after its acceptance. The comments then become part of the report. The inspection reports are publicly accessible for the period of 10 years. They are available at the school, on the Internet, at the school governing body, and relevant regional Inspectorate.
The record comprises inspection results, i.e. a statement of inspection results under the legislation, which were checked by this control, and their justification. It must always include the subject of the inspection, a list of background documents or materials documenting instances in which rules are broken, and descriptions of any infringements. It is possible to raise objections against the statement within 15 days. This opens the proceedings on objections. A record is not a public document. It is kept in the school and at the relevant inspectorate (depending on the area).
The outputs are always handed over to the head of the school. They are also given to a school council and to the statutory authority of the school. In the case of nursery schools (mateřská škola) and basic school (základní školy) this is a municipality, in the case of upper secondary school (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře) and tertiary professional school (vyšší odborné školy) a region. In some cases, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports or possibly private or church is a statutory body. The inspection reports are always provided to the above bodies, the records upon requirement or in case the Inspectorate requires that the statutory authority ensures the rectification of the identified shortcomings.
The school head and the organising body take measures to follow up the results of the school inspection and inquiries.
Disciplinary actions may be taken in some cases:
- Where measures were not taken or completed by the deadline set, within the administrative procedure the Inspectorate can fine the person responsible for adopting or fulfilling these measures.
- If it is ascertained that the school concerned failed to act, or gross deficiencies are ascertained in school activities, the administrative procedure is launched and consequently after having exhausted all other options the Chief School Inspector may submit a proposal for the removal of the school or the field of education concerned from the School Register to the body maintaining the School Register.
- The Czech School Inspectorate can submit to the organising body a proposal for dismissal of the school head (anytime during the 6-year term for which the school head is appointed) or possibly propose the announcement of selection procedure to appoint the school head for the next term. In such a case the organising body is obliged to announce the selection procedure.
Internal evaluation of schools
Internal evaluation is the responsibility of the school head; the law does not set the criteria, form nor the terms of the evaluation.
Various tools to help schools with internal evaluation are available on the evaluation tools portal. The tools include observation sheets, questionnaires, manuals and instructions, forums etc. They can also use electronic testing available on the InspIS portal. Schools may use the external evaluation criteria for their internal evaluation, but this is not obligatory. For the pre-primary education, the manual Self-evaluation of Nursery Schools was published.
In the framework of the internal (self) school assessment, also the quality of the human resources is evaluated; the self-assessment of the education staff can be used for this.
In-service teacher training courses are provided by the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic. These also include self-evaluation and have different target groups (school heads, deputy heads and teachers).
Annual report on the school activity
Internal (self) evaluation is the groundwork for drawing up the annual report on the school activity for the past school year. The obligation to prepare annual report is imposed on the heads of basic schools (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), conservatoires (konzervatoře) and tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) by the Education Act. The school head prepares it according to the Decree Which Sets the Requisites of Long-term Plans, Annual Reports and submits it to the school council (školská rada) for approval before 15 October. After its approval by the school council, the school head sends the annual report to the school organising body within 14 days and it must be made available in an accessible place at the school.
The annual report on the activity of school always contains:
- basic information about the school, i.e. its name, location, school description, responsible body, information on the school management, address for remote access, information on the school council
- overview of the educational fields which are taught at school in line with the registration in the School Register
- framework description of the school staff that guarantee the functioning of the school
- information on enrolment procedures or registration for compulsory school attendance and subsequent admission to school
- information on educational attainment of pupils pursuant to the goals specified by the educational programmes and level of education provided, including the results of VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška), Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška) and graduate examination (absolutorium)
- information on the prevention of risk behaviour
- information on further education of education staff
- information on activities and presentation of school in the public
- information on results of any inspection carried out by the Czech School Inspectorate
- basic information on the school finances
- information on the school's participation in the development and international programmes
- information on the school's participation in further education in the framework of the lifelong education
- information on the submitted projects, financed from external sources, carried out by the school
- information on the cooperation with the trade unions, the employers' associations and other partners while fulfilling the educational objectives
Evaluation of education staff
According to the Education Act, school heads are responsible for the quality of education in the school, and thus also for the quality of the teaching staff. The evaluation of teachers, as well as school heads, is further governed by the Labour Code, i.e. the duty of managers to manage and specify the work of subordinates and to evaluate their work performance and work results. The requirements for teacher evaluation are also set out in the Czech School Inspectorate document: Criteria for Evaluation of the Conditions, Course and Results of Education and School Services: “The school management carries out a systematic evaluation of teachers' work and provides them regularly with useful feedback on their work. Based on the evaluation and in cooperation with the teachers, the school management plans their further professional development. The management successfully motivates teachers to self-evaluation and mutual provision of useful feedback.” The school head then demonstrates to the CSI how he/she evaluates employees. The evaluation of teachers is usually carried out directly by the school head, but he/she may entrust the evaluation to, for example, another member of leading staff. The schools organising bodies are responsible for the evaluation of school head.
The way how school heads or organising bodies should carry out the evaluation is not covered by a law. In the case of teacher evaluation, it is only possible to state the common practice in terms of inspection activities, described on the basis of information provided by the CSI inspectors. The most common goal of teacher evaluation is to provide feedback to help teachers improve their performance, and to remunerate teachers. The most common tools used for evaluation are the observation activities (class work, teacher's instruction) and the interview with the teacher. The teacher's preparation for teaching, pupils' results, the teacher's participation in further education are also considered, the administrative aspects of teachers’ work are taken into account and possible surveys among pupils may be considered. The frequency of evaluation is not specified; in practice, it usually takes place once a year. The evaluation is recorded, it is not a public document. Insufficient performance of the teacher may have an impact, for example, on his/her financial evaluation (remuneration), the teacher may be provided with assistance (pedagogical, professional, personnel), further education is recommended, in exceptional cases he/she may be dismissed.
For the evaluation of future teachers, see section Qualifications, evaluation and certificates in Chapter 9.
Other evaluation activities in early childhood and school education
Apart from activities mentioned in the previous sections, the Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) regularly provides a sample survey of the learning outcomes of pupils of basic and upper secondary schools (testing) serving both for the evaluation of the education system and the self-evaluation of participating schools.
The responsibility for the evaluation of the education system as a whole, or of its individual components also rests with the relevant sectoral institutes, possibly other state entities. Selected aspects of education are ascertained by the public opinion polls of the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Evaluation activities are also carried out by some non-state (commercial) entities.
Czechia participates also in numerous international evaluation projects. Since 2012, all international testing has been coordinated by the Czech School Inspectorate. (Until 1996, the TIMSS and PIRLS surveys were performed at the Research Institute of Education, then the Institution for Information on Education took over the implementation of most international educational surveys.)
Surveys on pupils' educational results in basic and upper secondary schools
The Czech School Inspectorate carries out several types of the surveys of the results of pupils within the framework of tasks defined by law and in line with the Conceptual Plans of the Evaluation Activities and the annual Plan of Main Objectives. Conceptual Plans of the Evaluation Activities for the period of 2021 to 2030 implements the system consisting of three components:
- survey on educational results of 5th and 9th grade pupils in educational areas (subjects) organised with a four-year periodicity at almost all schools (only one grade in one school)
- survey on the level of literacies of a sample of pupils in the 1st and 2nd stage of basic school (základní školy), upper secondary schools (střední školy), or tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy)
- survey on the results of pupils in one or more thematic tests with a focus on some of the areas according to the specific tasks of the CSI in a selected group of pupils in the years of study relevant to the given task
Verification of pupils' results is performed through the InspIS SET electronic testing inspection system. The analysis and information obtained by testing and also by the on-the-spot inspection activity on the given topic is then published in the form of a thematic report. The aim of testing is to provide feedback both at the level of pupils and schools and at the level of the education system (evaluation of the quality of the education process at school and school quality, fulfilment of requirements defined by the state; in the case of the education system, the results are a source of information, for example, for the creation of educational policies or for possible modifications of curricular documents).
Both types of testing are a follow up of the NIQES – National Inspection System for the Education System of the Czech Republic. This project was launched in 2011 and completed in autumn 2015. The main objective of the project was the transformation and modernisation of the Czech national inspection system. One of the key activities of the project was testing – examining pupils’ results in the 5th and 9th years of basic school. The testing was concluded in 2013.
Surveys on educational results (subject testing)
As a rule, every four years, the CSI should carry out a survey of the results of pupils in the 5th and 9th years of basic schools and corresponding years of multi-year general secondary schools (víceletá gymnázia). The testing concerns the results in individual educational areas (subjects) of the Framework Education Programme for Basic Education (FEP BE).
First survey took place in 2017 with the participation of almost 3 900 schools. In each of the schools, the results of pupils were determined in two of the three basic subjects – Czech language and literature, mathematics and a foreign language, and in one additional subject / educational area. The CSI obtained information about the quality of schools, the fulfilment of parts of the curriculum that can be used to discuss its modifications. It was able to identify the influence of some factors of education on pupils' results and use information about pupils' success for the inspection activity itself. The CSI also obtained valuable information from accompanying questionnaires for pupils and teachers, which focused on pupils' attitudes to subjects and the scope of their preparation, evaluation of pupils and teachers regarding the frequency of defined situations of the educational process in teaching, methods of evaluation of pupils from pupils' as well as teachers' point of view and attitudes of teachers towards framework education programmes with regard to the fulfilment of their goals. The results of testing were published by the CSI in the form of a final report – Sample survey on pupils' results in 5th and 9th grades in basic schools in 2016/2017 school year.
Next survey was planned for May 2021, but it has been moved to May 2022 due to Covid-19 pandemic. In October and November 2021, schools were able to participate in the voluntary survey of pupils' results in the 5th, 7th and 9th years of basic education, with a content focus on the Czech, mathematics and English.
Testing in May 2022 was reduced as follows due to the burden on schools in connection with the integration of Ukrainian pupils: Pupils in the 5th year took tests in Czech, mathematics and study skills test, pupils in the 9th year only in Czech and mathematics.
Surveys on level of literacies and thematic tests
The Czech School Inspectorate regularly (usually annually) provides sample surveys of the level of particular literacy of pupils. It focuses on the evaluation of the conditions, course and results of education in accordance with the requirements of the relevant framework education programmes. It evaluates the support, the achieved level and the results of education in various literacies in different years of basic schools and upper secondary schools.
In recent years, three of these six literacies alternated regularly: reading + mathematical + social and language + information + science literacies. From 2021/22, it is planned to test one of these five literacies each school year: science, reading, mathematical, language, and information. Usually, literacy test is supplemented by one more thematic test.
Overview of previous and planned tests:
- 2015/16: reading, mathematical and social literacy (6th year of basic school and 1st year of upper secondary schools – fields with VET certificate)
- 2016/17: science, language and information literacy (9th year of basic school and 3rd year of upper secondary school – fields with Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška), language literacy also in the 5th year of basic school)
- 2017/18: mathematical, reading, social and media literacy (9th year of basic school and 2nd year of upper secondary school)
- 2018/19: language literacy (4th year of basic school), science literacy (8th year of basic school), information literacy (3rd year of upper secondary school), and traffic education (6th and 9th year of basic school)
- 2019/20: mathematical literacy (6th year of basic school), reading literacy (1st year of upper secondary school), social literacy (3rd year of upper secondary school), and environmental education (8th year of basic school)
- 2020/21: testing did not take place due to the situation associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and the integration of Ukrainian pupils
- 2021/22: science literacy (5th and 9th year of basic school)
- 2022/23: autumn 2022 – reading literacy (2nd year of upper secondary school), science literacy / financial literacy / topics of modern history of the Czech Republic (1st year of upper secondary school), physical fitness testing (3rd and 7th year of basic school, 2nd year of upper secondary school), spring 2023 – reading literacy (5th and 9th year of basic school), second foreign language and science subjects (9th year of basic school)
Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic Research
Opinion polls concerning education and the education system may also be seen as a type of evaluation. Such polls are organised by different institutions, e.g., by the Public Opinion Research Centre (Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění) of the Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. For instance in 2016, opinion polls concerned inclusive education, amendment to the Education Act, the introducing of tuition fees at higher education institutions and State part of the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška). In addition, a number of research projects are under way, some of which are focused on education.
Non-state evaluation activities
There are also non-state evaluation activities taking place in schools. These are commercial and the schools which decide to undertake such evaluation cover the costs.
Basic schools and upper secondary schools can take part in an evaluation project called Kalibro, which offers them with the possibility of a qualified measure of their educational attainment. The tests cover the following study areas: Czech language, mathematics, basics of humanities, economic skills, natural sciences, English language. In addition to the students' achievements, the school concerned obtains comprehensive results for classes and the school as a whole (these results are provided only to the relevant school), as well as overall average results for Czechia, individual regions, types of schools or categories of students. They serve the school as a measure for assessing its own achievements. On top of this, the overall results and the students' answers in particular are subject to analysis, which assists teachers in their pedagogical work.
The SCIO project is an evaluation that focuses both on individuals and schools on a commercial basis. It offers so-called national comparative examinations of knowledge at the basic school and upper secondary school levels and comparative tests, practice exercises for entrance examinations to an upper secondary school and a higher education institution (vysoká škola), etc. SCIO tests are used by hundreds of schools of all levels. Some upper secondary schools and higher education institutions take the results into account in admission procedures. A large number of basic schools and upper secondary schools including multi-year secondary general schools (víceletá gymnázia) use the tests to assess educational achievement and find out how to increase the quality.
The OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes
The OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes was launched in late 2009. It responded to the strong interest in evaluation and assessment issues evident at national and international levels. 23 countries participated in preparing the report. The countries prepared background reports themselves or the report could be elaborated by a working group from OECD and external experts. In 2012, the OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education – Czech Republic was released.
International OECD PISA projects
Czechia has joined the OECD project PISA – Programme for International Student Assessment, which was launched in 1998 and aims to assess, on a regular basis, the achievements of fifteen-year olds in mathematics, science and reading literacy. The data collection of the first cycle ran in basic schools and upper secondary schools in Czechia in April 2000. Among the OECD countries, Czech pupils were slightly below the average in reading literacy, average in mathematics and slightly above the average in science.
The main phase of the PISA's second cycle took place in spring 2003. The Czech pupils achieved average results in reading literacy and mathematics, and above-average results in science literacy and in the problem-solving area.
Three years later, in 2006, the data collection of the third cycle took place. Among the OECD countries, the results of Czech pupils in reading were slightly below average and in science and mathematics slightly above average. In comparison with other countries, the differences between the results of different schools in Czechia repeatedly ranked among the biggest. The differences were especially great between the different types of schools.
In the fourth PISA cycle, focused in particular on the reading literacy, the data collection took place in the spring 2009. Among the OECD countries, the Czech pupils achieved below-average results in reading literacy; the results in mathematics and science were around the average. In comparison with preceding cycles of PISA surveys, the results of the Czech pupils worsened significantly.
Another nationwide PISA testing took place in the spring 2012 and focused on mathematics. Apart from the reading and science literacy, the financial literacy and problem-solving area were also tested. The results of the Czech pupils were around the average in mathematics (since 2003, when the results were above the average, they have markedly worsened) and reading literacy (after a certain decline, the results reached again the level of the year 2000). The results in science literacy were slightly above the average (since 2009 a slight improvement can be seen which is comparable to that in 2006). The results of the Czech pupils were slightly above the average in the area of problem-solving and the financial literacy.
2015 PISA survey was focused on natural sciences literacy. 15-year-old Czech students achieved worse results than in 2006. However, overall results compared well with OECD countries' average. In reading literacy, Czech students were slightly below average, in maths literacy they were average.
In 2018, data collection of 2018 PISA survey took place in Czechia on a sample of 333 schools focusing on reading, math and science literacy and to determine the individual pupils’ satisfaction. Students' questionnaires, ICT questionnaires and school questionnaires were also included. The test results were published in December 2019. Pupils' results in reading literacy were practically the same as the OECD average; in mathematics and science literacy they slightly exceeded the OECD average.
The last survey was conducted in 2022.
International IEA Studies
Czechia has been the member of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) since 1991 (then as Czechoslovakia).
In 1995, the IEA RLS (Reading Literacy Study) was repeated in Czechia in the 3rd and 8th grades of basic school. The results achieved basically corresponded to the average results in participating countries.
In 2001, the IEA PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) research into the reading literacy of the 4th grades of basic school pupils was carried out, following on the project from 1995. The results of the Czech pupils were in the middle of the spectrum of those countries with above-average results.
Czechia did not take part in the next cycle of the PIRLS project in 2006, but participated in the 2011 cycle, which confirmed the above-average results of Czech pupils in this area.
In spring 2016, Czechia participated again in 2016 PIRLS testing. Its results were published in December 2017 along with the results of Czech students in international comparison. Results of the Czech students continue to rank above the average.
The most recent testing took place in 2021. It showed that the average score of Czech pupils remains above average and confirmed that its value does not change significantly over time.
Mathematics and science education
In 1995, the TIMSS (The Third International Mathematics and Science Study) was carried out. It aimed at assessing education in mathematics and science in the population at the ages of nine and thirteen and of pupils in their final year at upper secondary school. Basic school pupils scored among the best in both age groups, and the results of upper secondary school pupils differed significantly depending on the educational programme used: pupils in VET (apprenticeship) programmes were among the lowest scorers and as they represented a large proportion of the population tested; this had a negative effect on the overall result.
In 1999, another TIMSS research took place in the 8th year of basic schools. It aimed at assessing the development of pupils' knowledge and skills in mathematics and science over a four-year period. The Czech pupils demonstrated very good knowledge in science, although their knowledge in mathematics had worsened compared to 1995. The TIMSS 1999 research included video study research (TIMSS 1999 Videostudy) into teaching methods. Czechia also participated in this.
The TIMSS 2007 preparation started in 2005, the main research taking place in 2007. Mathematics and science achievement of pupils in the fourth and eighth years of basic school were tested. For both years, the results of pupils in science were above the average, however, in mathematics they were average for older pupils and below the average for the younger ones. Compared to 1995 and 1999, the knowledge in both tested areas changed for the worse (this being perceptible especially in mathematics).
In 2011, Czechia carried out another TIMSS research in the 4th grades of the basic school. The same pupils as in the PIRLS 2011 research were tested. The pupils confirmed above-average results in science and CR thus ranked among the most successful countries. Although the results in mathematics have improved since 2007, the slump compared to 1995 is still obvious.
In 2015, TIMSS survey participated only pupils of fourth year of basic schools. The results in maths and natural sciences were again above average. Whereas in natural sciences the results are relatively constant as compared with previous testing years, in maths the pupils have not yet achieved the level of 1997.
In 2019, a TIMSS survey was conducted again with the participation of pupils of fourth year of basic schools. The results were published by the end of 2020. For the first time, testing was entered electronically on computers or tablets. In both subjects, the pupils achieved above-average results, even comparable to 1995.
The next data collection will take place in 2023.
In 1998, the IEA SITES (Second Information Technology in Education Study) research project was launched, which concentrated on the level of information technology equipment at basic schools and upper secondary schools and its use. Czechia also participated in this project. The results provided information on ICT equipment at schools, teacher training in ICT and ICT implementation in education in different countries. SITES Module 2 (M2) was carried out in 2000–2002 focusing on research into modern teaching methods using ICT. It was led by the Faculty of Education of the Charles University. Czechia did not participate in the SITES Module 3 (2005–2007), investigating how and to what extent ICT is being used in teaching and how it contributes to its support and improvement.
In spring 2013, the main data collection of the ICILS project (International Computer and Information Literacy Study) was carried out in the 8th grades of basic school. The aim was to acquire information on the pupils’ skills in the area of the computer and information literacy. The results of the research were published in 2014. The results of the Czech pupils in the test of computer and information literacy were the best from all the participating countries.
In 1999, the IEA CIVIC (Civic Education Study) research was carried out in Czechia. It focused on the civic education in the 8th grade of basic school and the 3rd year of upper secondary school. The knowledge of Czech pupils was above average, but their attitudes were surprising – above all their reluctance to take part in public benefit activities. In the international comparison, Czech pupils of upper secondary schools showed mediocre knowledge and skills in civic education, their concern about political activities was passive, and their confidence in state institutions below the international average.
Another cycle of the civic education research ICCS (International Civic and Citizenship Education Study) took place in 2009. The pupils in the 8th grade of the school attendance were tested. Czech pupils demonstrated above-average knowledge as compared with other countries, even if the comparison with the Civic Education Study (1999) and (2009) has shown a statistically significant knowledge drop. The pupils were relatively reluctant to participate in the future (parliamentary) election and were rather distrustful of political parties. Czech pupils demonstrated above-average knowledge of the EU and Europe; on the other hand, they have a weaker sense of European identity and belonging to Europe than their peers in other European nations.