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Psem to quiz all students over four-monthly exams

Student body Psem on Tuesday announced they would carry out a referendum among high school pupils on what their next move should be over the four-monthly exams introduced in state schools last December.

The referendum will take place on Wednesday. Pupils will be asked whether they agree for abstention from classes for a full day as their next measure of exerting pressure to the education ministry to abolish the exams and launch a “real dialogue” on student assessment.

The new exam system was introduced for first year lyceum students this school year, with the first exams being taken in December. Psem held a mass rally on January 16 outside the Presidential Palace and warned further protests would be held until the exams system changed.

The pupils are calling for the abolition of the four-monthly exams, and their replacement with 90-minute and 45-minute ones for each subject during the term without the ministry’s involvement in the test material. They also want a reduction of the material taught so that it “responds to the real teaching time.”

On subjects for which no exams are necessary, they want teachers and pupils to decide together which the best assessment method would be; either a 45-minute test or a project.

Psem also suggests a two-year transition period for the implementation of these proposals to give time for the training of teachers on all forms of pupil assessment.

The first exams were declared a success by the education ministry.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Monday the ministry has recorded feedback from teachers, parents and pupils as regards the procedure while he would start a dialogue with teacher unions and parents to discuss possible improvements. He added that his ministry would also process the exams results based on adequacy indicators and not the teaching material.

Psem on Tuesday said the ministry was trying to present the exams as a successful institution despite the problems they faced over the previous months.

“Everyone must realise that the main problem is not the bad application of the institution but the very philosophy of the four-monthly exams that promotes competition and grade mongering,” Psem said.

They also said that they would like an assessment system that would promote all-round education and critical thinking and not just grades.

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