Budapest (MTI) – The education reform the government has started will not be “essentially affected” by the poor results achieved by Hungarian students in the PISA test, but several points must be reviewed, education state secretary László Palkovics said in an interview published in daily Magyar Idők on Saturday.
Palkovics said the assessment of the results is underway and a report comparing the scores with those of other countries will be submitted to the government in January.
He said they will look into what has changed, what happened at schools, what kind of teaching methodology was applied and whether the new way of filling in the test – which students now had to fully complete on computers – caused any problems.
Palkovics noted that many countries have seen their PISA test results deteriorate. “We were not shocked by the PISA scores, and the PISA will not essentially change the reform process that we started,” he said.
Answering the question as to who or what is chiefly responsible for poorer performance, the state secretary said “this is a complex problem”; there is the curriculum, the syllabus and the methodology, which must be reviewed. Teachers and parents play a role as well, he added, noting that children cannot be blamed although it is true that if they do not learn what they have to, these results will obviously be worse.
Discussing the points to be reviewed, Palkovics said it would be important that certain classes should be taught in smaller groups in future so that students who need more help than others should receive extra attention from teachers. Furthermore, it is also important that schools should be supplied with the necessary educational tools: there are now few schools in the country where the modelling and simulation procedures required by PISA are used in teaching students younger than year eight, Palkovics said.
Hungarian students scored worse in reading comprehension and in science in a PISA test conducted last year than in a similar test in 2012, according to a recently published OECD report.