Procedure for assessing pupils' achievements and progress
The assessment of students’ achievements and progress involves criteria based observation and feedback on development and learning, the gathering and storing of data about learning processes and results, and the interpretation and use of that data to ensure improvements in the quality of teaching and learning.
The procedure for assessing students’ achievements and progress is approved by the Minister. The assessment of pupils’ learning achievements and progress is an integral part of the school curriculum. It must be consistent with the educational objectives. The school, in accordance with the legislation and school agreements, develops its own Description of the procedure for assessing the achievements and progress of the school pupils. The principal approves this and publishes it on the school’s website.
In general, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary curricula are based on four achievement levels – threshold, satisfactory, basic and advanced. In lower and upper secondary programmes, achievement levels are linked with scores: threshold – 4, satisfactory – 5-6, basic – 7-8, and advanced – 9-10.
Pupils learn at a different pace, and their learning quality differs. Achievement levels are guides for the teacher when planning the educational process, not only in setting higher expectations for pupils with high learning potential, but also providing effective help for pupils who do not achieve the basic level.
In assessing pupils’ achievements, evidence of those achievements is collected. At the end of a planned learning stage, the evidence is summarised by recording a score. Teachers gather evidence in line with the agreements reached by the school and discussed with pupils.
Assessment allows the teachers/school to identify when pupils need short term or ongoing help.
Types of assessment
General education programmes are the main guide for all parts of the evaluation - planning, teaching, recording and discussing assessment information, then adjusting the education provided. In the implementation of general curricula, these types of assessment are used:
- formative evaluation
- summative evaluation
These types are established within the general framework for primary, lower secondary and upper secondary curricula.
Its purpose is to help the pupil to learn, provide and receive feedback, monitor progress, and provide timely assistance. For this, the school creates an individual tracking system for each pupil, using available data, such as the national pupils’ achievement testing (more information on this is presented at the end of this chapter) and other previously created tracking tools or defines and applies its own testing system.
The purpose of tracking the progress of each pupil is to monitor whether the level of competences acquired by the pupil is optimal. Does it correspond to the objectives pursued by them and reflect their individual powers, aspirations and experiences? Is the pupil continuously and consistently learning new and more complex things, acquiring new skills, and strengthening their values? At the same time, the school is looking for ways to promote each pupil’s self-esteem, perseverance, evaluation and improvement of their activity/learning. The pupil, their parents (guardians, caregivers), teachers and other education specialists all participate in the assessment of each pupil’s progress. This assessment information is taken into account to adjust each pupil’s individual learning pathway.
This refers to a pupil’s self-observation during the learning process, their achievements and progress, and promotes self-evaluation and reflection on their own learning steps going forward.
At the end of an education period, pupils’ achievements are formally summarised, evaluated and graded using either a ten-point system or the terms Credited, Not Credited or Exempt. The Exempt grade is recorded if it has not been possible to assess the pupil due their nonattendance at school on the advice of a doctor that has been confirmed by an instruction from the school principal. At the end of the education period (for example, the trimester, or the semester), the subject teacher summarises and captures the pupil’s achievement/results. The evaluation criteria for assessing a pupil’s achievement should be linked to evaluation descriptions as defined in the general education programmes for a particular subject. These criteria must be known to the learner.
The school sets an adaptation period for pupils who start learning according to the first and second parts of the lower secondary education programme or for newly arrived pupils. It is recommended that pupils’ achievements and progress are not assessed during any adaptation period.
National pupils’ achievement testing
The system of National Pupils’ Achievement Testing (NMPP) was launched in 2014. Since then, nationally standardised tests and unified criteria allow the achievements of Lithuanian pupils to be assessed. The information obtained from the NMPP is used in the decision-making process: it helps to choose ways to improve teaching and learning for pupils, teachers, classes, schools, and at local and national levels. Each year the NMPP of 8th grade Lithuanian language and literature (reading), math, and mother tongue (Polish, Russian, Belarussian – reading), are organised.
The institution, holding the status of the school’s founder, decides whether the school should participate in the NMPP. This institution can transfer the right of decision to the school principal. Currently, if the school decides to take part in the NMPP, all its pupils must participate. From 1 September 2024, it will be compulsory that every pupil finishing 8th grade participates in the NMPP.
The municipality and school can decide to use pupil questionnaires in addition to the NMPP in order to broaden the evaluation of the education quality in that particular school. The results of these questionnaires are used to review indicators such as the school’s emotional climate, the level of bullying at the school, how pupils feel at school, pupil’s ability to learn, and the added value created by the school. This allows for a more comprehensive school evaluation. More attention is paid not only to the academic achievement, but also to pupils’ feelings, and the school’s emotional climate. This helps to better assess the school’s contribution to pupils’ achievements, taking into account the context of the school. The school must inform parents (guardians, caregivers) about this extended evaluation and obtain consent that their child can participate in this evaluation. They have the option to refuse to allow their child to complete the pupil questionnaire. In this case, it would be more difficult for a school (municipality) to accurately and objectively assess such important school performance indicators.
It is important to notice that NMPP test results are solely for the pupil, their parents (guardians, caregivers) and teachers. It is not an evaluation of an individual pupil’s acquired education. Therefore, the National Agency for Education strongly recommends that the tests should not be evaluated using a grade-based system. However, the school decides whether or not to apply a grading system. If a grade is written, then it is equal to the grade of a regular test. The results of the NMPP do not influence the promotion of a pupil to the next school grade.
Participants in assessment
Learning achievements are evaluated by teachers, education providers, school founders, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and its authorised institutions.
Teachers plan and assess their pupils' progress and learning achievements. They sum up and evaluate each pupil's academic attainment. They record the assessment results in the manner established by the school; provide information about performance, achievements and gaps in their knowledge to the pupils, their parents (guardians, caregivers), other teachers and the school administration; analyse and adjust pupils' teaching and learning. And, finally, teachers ensure that pupils experiencing learning difficulties are provided with timely assistance.
The school determines the general procedure for collecting, recording and using information about pupil assessment. It ensures consistent application of assessment methods in the progression of a pupil from one class to another or from a lower stage of education to a higher one and among parallel classes or separate subjects. The school also coordinates the scope and frequency of tests. It provides assistance to pupils experiencing learning difficulties. And last but not least, it evaluates the quality of work performed by individual teachers and the school by pupils' attainment.
The education department of the school founder administration analyses the information about pupil assessments that it receives from schools and uses it for decision-making. It also takes the social and cultural context into account when making judgements about the efficiency of the school activities. It ensures that the procedure for external assessment of pupils' attainment should be agreed with the school and its teachers. And, finally, it creates conditions for teachers' professional development.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport approves documents regulating the general content of formal education and pupil assessment. It determines the pupil assessment procedure at the time when the pupil completes the lower secondary education programmes. It also ensures timely analysis of pupil assessment results and their presentation to the pedagogical community and the general public and also the efficient use of that information.
Progression of pupils/students
Promotion of pupils to a higher grade is established in the Procedure for Consecutive Learning in Accordance with General Education Programmes approved by the Minister for Education, Science and Sport.
Pupils in grades 5-9 (and 1st gymnasium class) who receive satisfactory year-end scores in all compulsory subjects can progress to the next grade. A pupil who is following an individualised lower secondary education programme or social skills development programme can be transferred to the next grade by stating his/ her annual results.
If a pupil receives an unsatisfactory year-end assessment, does not carry out social civic activity, receives an unsatisfactory score for additional assignment, his/her teachers and other staff who participate in the pupil's education, decide whether to transfer the pupil to the next grade. The teachers' so-called council can give an additional assignment to the pupil, a pupil can be transferred to the next grade or left to repeat the curriculum. The school principal takes the final decision, taking the teachers' suggestions into account.
A pupil in grade 10 (and 2nd gymnasium class) is considered to have completed his/her lower secondary education programme if:
- he/she has satisfactory achievement in year-end assessments in all subjects that he/she was required to study, and
- carried out social civic activity.
A pupil is considered to have attained a lower secondary education and a right to learn in the next grade if he/she fulfils the above-mentioned requirements and has passed the assessment of lower secondary education achievements. The achievements in Lithuanian (as a Mother tongue or state language) and Math are compulsory examinations and achievements in Mother tongue (Belarusian, Polish, German, Russian) are examined if the pupil so chooses.
If a pupil who has satisfactory year-end assessments in all subjects and has carried out social civic activity does not participate in the assessment of lower secondary education achievements without justification, they may not repeat the final year curriculum. This pupil is considered to have completed the lower secondary education programme but not to have obtained lower secondary education. Such pupil can participate in the assessment of lower secondary education the following year or later and then attain lower secondary education.
A graduate student in a lower secondary education programme with an unsatisfactory annual evaluation of at least one subject must repeat the last school year. By the education forms set by the Minister for Education, Science and Sport, he/she does not have to repeat all the subjects but only those individual subjects whose annual evaluation is unsatisfactory.
A student in the final grade of a basic education programme who has an unsatisfactory annual assessment in at least one subject (after additional work, if assigned) must repeat the final grade of the basic education programme. Those who do not wish to repeat all the subjects of the curriculum of that class may study the individual subjects of the curriculum for which the annual assessment is unsatisfactory in the forms of learning established by the Minister of Education, Science and Sports
If a pupil repeats the whole year of the curriculum, his / her annual assessments of the previous grade (school year) are not valid.
In the event that a school has evidence that a pupil’s (who is moving to a higher grade) learning achievements are higher than those of the higher level in the general programme, a pupil under the age of 14 at the request of the parents (guardians) (pupils aged 14 to 18 at their own request and with the written consent of one parent (guardian) and with the approval of their class teachers and the School Welfare Commission, may be promoted by skipping a class and completing the curriculum more quickly.
The certificate of lower secondary education is issued to a pupil who has acquired lower secondary education.
The year-end marks/grades in each subject from the second part of the lower secondary education programme, social civic activity, as well as other annual assessments and the results of assessment of lower secondary education achievements are entered on the certificate.
Pupils who have not completed the lower secondary education programme receive a certificate of learning achievements. This certificate includes the subjects that were taught, the satisfactory and unsatisfactory annual evaluations, the number of hours spent on the subject in the class according to the curriculum (for graduating from the second part of lower secondary education in 2007 and after), evaluations of the assessment of lower secondary education achievements, social civic activities.
Pupils in grade 10 with unsatisfactory year-end assessments, those who have completed a special lower secondary education program or followed adapted curricula receive a certificate of a specific form.