Why national assessment research?

Educational quality at the system level
Based on large-scale test taking, in national assessment research it is determined to what extent Flemish pupils reach final objectives in a specific domain or field at the end of particular educational levels. In this way, national assessment research wants to monitor the quality of Flemish education at the system level. This research provides valuable feedback to policy makers and educational providers. Based on the results of this research, policy decisions to optimize the quality of education can be made.

Analysis of differences in performance
Not all students who participate in a national assessment perform equally. There can also be differences between classes and schools. These differences in performance are investigated by STEP. It is also investigated whether there are systematic differences between student groups or between schools with different student audiences. In this way, explanations for the national assessment results are sought.

School feedback
Schools that participate in a national assessment receive a feedback report. This report provides a picture of the performance of the participating school, both in an absolute (what proportion of students reaches the final attainment levels?) and relative sense (how does the school perform, compared to schools with a similar student audience?). The school can use this information for internal quality management.

Parallel tests
After each national assessment, parallel tests are made available. Such a parallel test measures exactly the same as the corresponding national assessment, but with similar items or tasks. Schools can use the parallel tests on their own initiative. The schools receive a free feedback report in which their own performance is described and compared with the general national assessment results. More information can be found at www.paralleltests.be.