Romanian teachers self-evaluate positively, students remain below OECD average in PISA tests

While Romanian teachers widely believe they can help students to think critically, Romanian students perform below the OECD average in the PISA tests, according to several OECD reports compiled by cursdeguvernare.ro.

Some 95% of the local teachers believe they are able to help their students to value learning, while 93.4% believe they can help their students to think critically, according to the most recent OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), published in 2013. The percentages are higher than the survey’s averages, where 80.7% of teachers believe they are able to help their students to value learning, and 80.3% think they can help their students to think critically.

The percentages stand in contrast with the most recent results of the Romanian students at the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) evaluations, also carried by the OECD. In the 2015 testing, which focused on Science, Romania had an average score of 435 points in this domain, ranking 48th out of 70 countries where the test was performed. Romania is still much under the OECD average score of 493. Romania’s overall scores in Reading and Mathematics were also below the OECD average in 2015, but slightly higher than in 2006.

Meanwhile, teachers in Japan and Finland, countries placing on the second and fifth place respectively in the latest PISA evaluations, feel prepared about the content of the discipline they teach in lower percentages, according to data quoted by cursdeguvernare.ro. Some 72% of teachers in Finland believed they are well or very well prepared regarding the content of the discipline they each, while 64% believed they are well or very well prepared about the pedagogy of the discipline they teach.

The typical teacher in lower secondary education in Romania is a 42 year old woman, who reports having 16 years of teaching experience and who completed a teacher education or training program, according to the same 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).

The proportion of female principals is lower than the proportion of female teachers (64% and 69%, respectively), the survey found. On average, principals in Romania are 47 years old and reported having 7 years of experience in their role.

Furthermore, 83% of lower secondary teachers report having undertaken professional development in the 12 months prior to the survey. The areas in which the highest proportions of teachers report a high need for professional development are teaching students with special needs and strategies for using new technologies in the workplace, the survey found.

More than 90% teachers in Romania report overall satisfaction with their job. However, only 35% of them believe that teaching is a valued profession in society, according to the survey.

This year, OECD also published, in a partnership with UNICEF, a Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education in Romania, acknowledging the country “has made impressive strides over the past two decades, with an increasing share of students mastering the basic competencies that they need for life and work.” Nevertheless, the assessment found these improvements “mask significant disparities in learning outcomes and attainment, with an increasing share of students leaving education early without basic skills.”

The review comes with several recommendations to help the country strengthen its evaluation and assessment system.

Among the recommendations are: the reduction of the weight of high stake examinations and creating more space for the formative discussions and feedback that are integral to improving learning and teaching; and ensuring that teachers’ initial and continuous education provides them with a stronger basis in assessment.

The full assessment is available here.

Over 95% of Romanian secondary school students study at least two foreign languages

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