Pupils/ Students assessment
In vocational and technical education, assessment is competence-centred, provides real feedback to students and underlies the individual learning plans. The overall purpose of assessment is to guide and optimize learning.
If in compulsory education assessment focuses on evidencing students’ acquisitions in the 8 areas of key competences defined by the National Curriculum:
Communication in Romanian, and in the mother tongue for national minorities
Communication in foreign languages
Basic skills in mathematics, sciences and technologies
Digital skills related to the use of the information technology as a learning and knowledge tool
Social and civic skills
Cultural awareness and expression
Learning to learn,
in upper secondary education, assessment is centred on the acquisitions provided for by the training profile which includes diversified key-competences and competences specific to a particular route, profile, specialization or qualification.
Students’ acquisitions are regularly assessed, for all subjects/modules, compulsory or optional. At the end of each semester or at the end of a module there is a period dedicated to assessment and consolidation of learning outcomes.
Depending on the objectives pursued, the following types of assessment are used:
Initial assessment is performed at the beginning of an education and training programme and at the beginning of each school year and aims to identify the relation between the students’ acquisition, demonstrated by the assessment, and the necessary acquisitions for successfully completing, at the stipulating learning pace, the training programme or/and module or the subject of the Curriculum. The results of assessment are used for developing and implementing remedial or individual development programmes and for adapting the learning strategy to students’ identified needs.
Formative assessment has as main purpose to ensure the achievement of the planned learning outcomes. Formative assessment accompanies the teaching activity in every lesson, as immediate, constructive feedback, which encourages and supports learning in order to achieve the learning objectives of the lesson/unit. When, after a number of lessons, several learning experiences have accumulated, which are considered sufficient so as to demonstrate more complex learning outcomes, related to students’ ability to solve theoretical and practical issues which involve more steps to follow, specific knowledge, skills connected to the analysis, synthesis and judgment of a given context, adequate abilities and aptitudes to demonstrate these acquisitions, cumulative assessments are taken for a formative purpose. The results of such assessments provide data on the evolution of students’ achievements and how these achievements relate to the learning outcomes stipulated by the vocational training standards of an education and training programme. Depending on the findings, decisions are made on the implementation of individual programmes for students, for a remedial or development purpose.
Summative assessment takes place at the end of each semester or, as appropriate, upon the completion of a module. Summative assessment serves as internal certification of the achievement of the learning outcomes stipulated by the Vocational Training Standard of a qualification and translated into subject or module curricula. For some subjects or specialised modules, which are relevant to the goals of the education and training programme, written test papers determined by an Order of the National Education Minister are taken each semester. Most summative assessments are planned, designed and made internally by the teachers responsible for teaching and learning. Through the specialized training modules which take place as practical traineeships at partner economic operators/institutions, summative assessment takes place in real workplace conditions, or the conditions of a potential workplace, being designed together with the specialized teacher responsible for guiding the training and the person/tutor responsible for students’ practical training appointed by the partner economic operator/public institution. Summative assessments are related to the assessment standards for each subject, field of study and training module respectively, which are explicitly or implicitly formulated in the curricular documents.
Assessment methods and tools are chosen by each teacher depending on the assessment objectives and they can be found in the recommendations included in the curricular documents – the subject curricula. Some of the most used methods are oral assessment, written tests, practical tests, and also projects, papers, research, portfolios and others. The assessment tools are usually developed and approved by the specialized chairs, possibly with the consultation of partner economic operators, or, in some cases, they are developed by the Ministry of Education and Research and the County School Inspectorates.
In vocational and technical education, students’ performance for each subject and specialized module is appraised with marks from 10 to 1. The marks from 1 to 4 are judged as insufficient performance, marks from 5 to 6 as sufficient, marks 7 and 8 as good, and marks 9 and 10 as very good. Marks are obligatorily recorded. Teachers write down the mark awarded in the Class Book, in the section corresponding to the subject/module, indicating the date. The mark and the date when it was awarded are also written down in the student’s mark book. The data on students’ school achievement for the entire schooling period are found in the Class Books, in the Enrolment Register and the special registers related to the issue of school certificates – documents with a permanent archive regime at school level, and then in the State Archives.
For every compulsory or optional school subject, at the end of each semester and at the end of the school year, teachers have to conclude the final evaluation for every student. The final evaluation for specialised modules is concluded at the end of each module. The conclusion of the final evaluation consists in computing and recording in the school documents the average mark at the end of a semester and of the school year respectively. The semester average marks at subjects for which no written semester papers are taken are calculated as the arithmetic average of the marks awarded and is expressed as a whole number obtained through rounding. At subjects for which semester papers – theses – are taken, the semester average mark is calculated with the thesis mark weighing 25%. The semester average mark may be calculated only if the students have been assessed and have been awarded the minimum number of marks provided for by the Regulation for the Organisation and Functioning of School Education Establishments. The annual average mark for a school subject is the arithmetic average of the semester average marks expressed as a number with two decimal places without rounding.
For modules, the average mark is calculated at the end of a module, without any semester average marks; the average mark is calculated as an arithmetic average, with two decimal places, without rounding.
Students’ conduct is also marked. The marks are awarded by the class teacher after consulting all the teachers who teach a particular class of students. The conduct marks lower than 7 are approved by the Teacher Council of the school.
At the end of each school year, students in each class/year of studies who have the best achievements, as reflected by the general average mark and the conduct mark 10, are given awards at an official ceremony.
The data on students’ school achievements are regularly reported by every school to the County/Bucharest School Inspectorates, usually at the end of each semester and school year. Moreover, schools have the obligation to report, in compliance with the specific statistic research methodology, data and information about the enrolment of students in vocational and technical education and their school achievements to the local branch of the National Institute of Statistics.
The multiple criteria analysis of a school’s activity, including students’ school achievements, is carried out by the school’s board and made public by the head teacher of the school. At county and national levels, such analyses are carried out by the School Inspectorates.
Progression of pupils/ students
The general and specific rules concerning student assessment, the award of marks and the progression of students are established in the Regulation for the Organisation and Functioning of School Education Establishments and by Orders of the National Education Minister on the organisation of final examinations.
In vocational and technical education, students may progress from one grade/year of studies to the next – within the same cycle or level of education – if they obtained for each subject and module studied in the course of the concerned school year at least the final average mark 5 and at least the average mark 6 for conduct. Students are postponed for a semester or a school year if their final evaluation cannot be concluded for one or more school subjects/modules for any of the following reasons: they were absent, justifiably or unjustifiably, from at least 50% of the hours provided for those subjects in a semester, and because of this they could not be assessed and their final evaluation could not be concluded; they had permission from the head teacher to miss classes during the period of their participation in festivals and professional, cultural-artistic and sport competitions, national and international; they had a scholarship recognised by the Ministry of National Education; they attended school, for a definite period of time, in other countries.
The students who have been declared postponed for the first semester of a school year may have their final evaluation concluded in the course of the first four weeks of the second semester, a period when the students concerned are assessed and are awarded marks. The final evaluation of the students who were postponed for the second semester or for the entire school year is concluded before the special examination period, according to a timetable set by the governing body of the school. The students who have been postponed and do not obtain average marks which ensure their progression at two subjects/modules at the most can participate in the special examination session. The final evaluation of the students who have been postponed and the special examination are organized by each school in compliance with the provisions of the Regulation for the Organisation and Functioning of School Education Establishments.
Students who do not obtain at least the annual average mark 5 at a subject/module are declared failed. The students who failed no more than two subjects/modules may pass by taking the special examination organised at the end of each school year. The period for taking special examinations is determined, for every school year, by an Order of the National Education Minister. The special examination allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired the learning outcomes provided by the specific curriculum of the subject/module, at least at the minimal level corresponding to the mark 5, so that they can progress. A special examination consists in assessing failed students with appropriate tests, given the specificity of a subject/module: written, oral and practical tests.
The special examination is taken before a board composed of teachers at that school, established by a decision of the head teacher and composed of a chair and two examining members, one of the two being the teacher who taught that subject or module to the student concerned.
In most cases, the combination used is oral test – written test, except for those subjects which are mainly based on practical activities (such as those included in the curricular area Technologies). The duration of the written test is 90 minutes, and students may choose between two examination topics proposed by the examination board. For the oral test, students draw a note with an examination topic from the variants prepared by the members of the board. Students are allowed to change the note at most twice, with a corresponding decrease of the final mark that may be awarded. During the oral test, the students answer to the questions written on the note and the questions asked by the examiners.
Each teacher who is a member of the examination board independently awards one mark for each test, and calculates the final average round mark. The final mark of the special examination is the round arithmetic average of the final marks awarded by the teachers provided that the difference between the two marks is less than 1 point; if the difference is more than 1 point, the chair of the board ensures the mediation between the two examining teachers. The final mark of the special examination is considered the final annual mark for that subject/module and is recorded in the special examination file, in the school documents – the Class Book and the Register of Enrolments. The students who do not pass the special examination at a single subject (the final average mark is lower than 5) may be re-examined before the beginning of the school year, based on a request made by the parents and the approval of the head teacher.
The students who, at the end of a school year, are in one of the situations that follow are declared “held back” (grade retention): they obtained a final average mark lower than 5 at more than two subjects/modules; they obtained an annual average mark for conduct lower than 6; they failed and have not passed the special examination; they have been postponed and have not passed one subject at least neither in the session for the conclusion of their final evaluation, nor in the special examination session; they have been expelled and have the right to re-enroll.
The students who have been “held back” may enrol for the grade they are repeating the next school year, at the same school or at other school within the limits set for the number of students per class stipulated by the National Education Law and other specific provisions. Students in vocational and technical education may be at most twice in a grade retention situation, and one particular grade may be repeated at most once.
The students’ final evaluation at the end of semesters and of the school year is validated by the Teacher Council. The secretary of the Teacher Council indicates in a report the students’ final evaluation for each class of students, naming the students who passed, failed, were “held back” and those postponed. The final evaluation of the students who failed, “were held back” and postponed is communicated in writing to their parents, within 10 days at the latest from the end of the semester or of the school year; parents must also be informed about the period when the special examination takes place. Although there is no explicit provision in the legislation to that effect, most schools organise intensive periods of remedial education during the summer holiday for the purpose of supporting the students who failed one or more subjects/modules.
Students in vocational and technical education participate in national and international assessments and tests based on their specific methodologies.
According to the regulatory documents in force, the assessment process in vocational and technical education is designed as an integral part of initial vocational education and training taking place through school education.
At the same time, assessment and certification in vocational and technical education are appropriate for both the goals and specific objectives of school education – the graduates of school education having the possibility to continue either with tertiary education, higher education (after obtaining the Baccalaureate Diploma), or to go the labour market – and to the specific objectives of lifelong learning. In this context, the certification is based on a demonstration of the competences/learning outcomes explicitly specified in the Vocational Training Standards.
An important aspect of assessment in vocational and technical education is to ensure the coherency between current assessment and assessment for certification purposes based on the principle of complementary goals and objectives for the two forms of assessment. Therefore, the current, ongoing, internal assessment contributes to the development of vocational education and training competences provided as learning outcomes (key competences, units of general technical competences, units of specialised technical competences) in the Vocational Training Standard. This is pursued in the school context – by teachers – and at the place of the economic operator (in case of practical training) by teachers and tutors (specialists appointed by the economic operator for guiding and watching the traineeship).
Summative assessment for certification purposes takes place upon the completion of an initial vocational training programme and is regulated through methodologies approved by an Order of the National Education Minister.
At present, the organisation of examinations for the certification of a qualification for graduates of vocational and technical education is regulated as follows:
The graduates of the high-school technological path take a qualification certification examination according to the provisions of the Order of the National Education Minister no. 4434/2014 on the approval of the Methodology for the organisation of the qualification certification examination for high-school graduates, the technological path.
The graduates of vocational education take a qualification certification examination according to the provisions of the Order of the National Education Minister no. 4435/2014 on the approval of the Methodology for the organisation of the qualification certification examination for graduates of vocational education with the duration of 3 years.
The graduates of post-secondary non-tertiary education take a qualification certification examination according to the provisions of the Order of the National Education Minister no. 5005 of 02.12.2014 on the approval of the Methodology for the organisation of the qualification certification examination for graduates of post-secondary non-tertiary education.
The regulatory framework for the organisation of certification examinations has the following main regulatory elements:
The organisation of examinations for the certification of vocational education and training qualifications is coordinated at national level, in terms of methodology, by the National Commission for Assessment and Certification, which is established every school year and functions within the Ministry of Education and Research. Locally, at county level, the County Commissions for Assessment and Certification are responsible for the organisation of Examination Centres and the coordination of the certification examinations.
The County Commissions for Assessment and Certification are composed of the specialist inspector for vocational and technical education and representatives of stakeholders: the chairman of the Local Committee for the Development of Social Partnership in Vocational Education or his/her representative, the director of the County Employment Agency or his/her representative, representatives of other social partners as vice-chairmen, so as at least half of them are representatives of social partners.
The examination centres are organised in schools through a decision of the general school inspector based on criteria established in specific methodologies; the examination centres can ensure, at their own premises or at partner economic operators/public institutions, the best conditions for examination tests, usually as closely as possible to the work conditions at economic operators, they can ensure the best conditions for specific activities of the examination boards, as well the security of the board documents, and their vocational training experience is recognised on the local labour market.
The boards in the examination centres are composed of a chairman – the head teacher/deputy head teacher of the school, a specialist teacher in the field of the vocational education and training qualifications for which qualification certification examinations are taken, a vice-chairman – a representative of the economic operator for one of the certified qualifications, or, if there is no such a representative, a representative of the Local Committee for the Development of Social Partnership in Vocational Education or a representative of the County Employment Agency, as appropriate, a secretary – the secretary of the school which organises the examination centre or a specialist teacher from that school, assessing members – external assessors for each qualification, among which representatives of the partner economic operators/public institutions for students’ practical training, authorised external assessors.
In each examination centre, the activity of the examination board is observed and evaluated by a representative appointed by the County Commission for Assessment and certification/Bucharest Commission for Assessment and Certification as a monitor of the quality of the certification examination, nominated in the decision for the establishment of the examination board of that centre.
The tests of the certification examinations are appropriate for the level of qualification.
The access to the certification examination for a qualification at level 3 is ensured for those who completed vocational education/dual vocational education for obtaining the Level 3 Qualification Certificate (3EQF).
The access to the certification examination for a qualification at level 4 is ensured for those who completed high-school education, the technological path, for obtaining the Level 4 Qualification Certificate (4EQF).
The successful candidates at the certification examination obtain a Qualification Certificate and a descriptive Certificate Supplement.
The Qualification Certificate gives the graduates access to the labour market. The Level 3 Qualification Certificate (3EQF) gives the graduates the possibility to enrol for completing high-school education, the technological path, and some of the specialised modules are recognised in tertiary education.
Graduates of high-school education, the technological path, take the Baccalaureate Examination under the law, and the success at the Baccalaureate Examination is a condition for taking the examination for admission to higher education.
Assessment and certification in vocational and technical education is based on an assessment standard associated with each unit of learning outcomes in the Vocational Training Standard of a qualification. The assessment standard stipulates the conditions for proving the acquisition of a unit of learning outcomes, namely:
the necessary materials and equipment in the assessment context for demonstrating the acquired learning outcomes
the criteria for achievement and their weight – sentences associated with the learning outcomes, which specify with more accuracy the student’s outcomes, by indicating benchmarks that can measure the level of the performance demonstrating a competence
the achievement indicators and their weight, which detail every criterion in relation to the learning outcomes and which can measure the level of acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes/competences.
The formulation of assessment criteria and indicators is used by assessors and by anyone involved in quality assurance of initial vocational training with regard to the demonstration by a student of a learning outcome.
An assessment standard associated with a unit of learning outcomes may be used both for formative, summative assessment, and for the certification of a qualification.
Certification upon the completion of vocational education
For vocational education, assessment for certifying a qualification is carried out by examination boards which are external to the school, and two of the three external assessors of the examination board in an examination centre are representatives of the economic operators.
The qualification certification examination for graduates of vocational education consists in a practical test and an oral test. The practical test aims to demonstrate the acquisition of the learning outcomes in the Vocational Training Standard, which are relevant to that qualification. For each qualification, the topics of the practical test are selected by the school – examination centre out of the National List of Topics for the Practical Test.
This National List of Topics for the Practical Test is drawn out based on the proposals of the schools that prepare students for the qualifications in connection with which the certification examinations are taken, in cooperation with the economic operators/public institutions with which practical training partnerships have been concluded.
The National Centre for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education draws out the National List of Topics for the Practical Test and the associated Assessment Forms for each field and vocational education and training qualification based on the analysis of proposals from schools, with a view to the compliance with the Vocational Training Standards in force, the appropriateness of the proposed topics considering the specificity of a qualification and the qualification level.
Certification upon the completion of high-school technological education
The qualification certification examination for graduates of high-school education, the technological path, consists in a practical test and an oral test.
The practical test is concerned with the completion of a project in order to demonstrate – in the certification examination situation – the acquisition of the learning outcomes stipulated in the Vocational Training Standard of that qualification. The project may be accompanied by a scale model, a product, an educational film, an illustrating portfolio, etc., referring to the chosen topic.
The oral test – for the presentation of the project – each candidate aims to demonstrate, with the help of key-competences stipulated in the Vocational Training Standard (for example, oral communication), in an integrated manner, the content of the project.
Graduates are assessed by specialist teachers who provided guidance for the projects and by external assessors – specialist teachers from other school than that assigned as examination centre or specialists from the economic operators/public institutions with which student practical training partnerships have been concluded.
The EUROPASS Certificate Supplement for a Qualification Certificate is regulated by the Order of the National Education and Research Minister no. 3742 of 06.05.2016 on the approval of the model of the descriptive Supplement to the Qualification Certificate/Vocational Qualification Certificate, EUROPASS.