Pisa full results graphic - amendedThis year’s results of External Independent Testing in Ukraine (the equivalent of SAT in the USA or GCSE in Great Britain) have just been commented on by the Head of the EIT Centre in the media. The results are the worst ever. I’ll mention only three moments which I consider symptomatic:  Almost 8 per cent of the applicants did not write a single word of their Ukrainian essay during the test. A quarter of those who were tested for English handed in empty test sheet of their “Letter to a Friend”, which they were supposed to write within a given time period. Only 70 per cent of all high school graduates applied for testing.

My explanation for the applicants’ failure to present their thoughts in writing is that they cannot disclose their point of view orally either. That is to say, they can communicate in short burst of verbal exchange, but as soon as it comes down to the logic argumentation of the case in question and to some more or less lengthy exposition of one’s point, not so many young people can do that. I wonder if they write letters nowadays at all? Even emails are not so frequent. An sms or a facebook message dominates. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be better to offer (during the EIT) an assignment of the type “Texting to your friend that you really dig Imagine Dragons.”

As for the 30 per cent of those who decided not to take the EIT, one of the reasons may be low motivation: 90 per cent of all vacancies available to school graduates do not require any qualification in this country.

The other day it was reported that the Ukrainian Ministry of Education allowed the use of mobile phones at lessons in secondary schools – as it was said, “for students to be able to retrieve needed information for educational purposes.” However, with some 30 students in the classroom, can a teacher be sure that all of them are immersed in googling a theme that is being discussed and not playing games or writing sms-s?

I browse the Internet for “international student testing.” It looks like the most popular at the moment is PISA – Programme for International Student Assessment – done every three years. The latest 2012 rankings are: Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Taiwan, South Korea (the first five places), Estonia – 11th, Canada – 13th. Poland 14th, Germany – 16th, United Kingdom – 26th, Russia – 34th, USA – 36th, Montenegro – 54th, Peru – 65th.

I cannot find Ukraine in the list.


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