Consultation document proposes to do away with streaming
The government has published a consultation document which may lead to the streaming mechanism in state schools being replaced by a system based on determining each pupil's level of achievement in individual subjects. The new system will also see the phasing out of the Junior Lyceum, with pupils moving to mixed ability colleges.
Education Minister Dolores Cristina explained that the current streaming method starts filtering students from year four . The Education Ministry is proposing to replace that with a method of assessment that is no longer based on a pass or fail mentality and alleviates stress on students. If approved through consultation, the new system would start being implemented from students that are in year four this year.
Through the current system students start being streamed in year four and five when they undergo five centrally set written annual exams: Maltese, English, Maths, Religion and Social Studies that are marked by class teachers. On reaching year six they sit for annual school exams that are set centrally and Junior Lyceum exams in the core subjects and, based on those results, they are selected for the lyceum or area secondaries.
Through the reformed system the exams will remain, however their purpose will no longer be streaming as year five and six students will remain in mixed competence classes. The end of primary school exam – that will serve as a national benchmark - will be offered to all state, church and private schools.
The new system also puts more emphasis on spoken languages with an oral exam in English and Maltese included in the national end of primary exam that does away with the Junior Lyceum and common entrance exams. Through this system the current year four students will not move on to Junior Lyceums or Area Secondary Schools – that are to be phased out – but move on to secondary schools within the colleges where a setting mechanism will divide them according to their level of attainment in individual subjects.
External monitoring, introduced in the fourth year of the programme, will evaluate children’s learning in different areas of the curriculum in Years 4,5 and 6 and in forms 1 and 2.
The new proposed system moves away from the preparatory approach that is geared a preparing children for exams and towards a developmental method concerned with the development of those capacities which enable one to make the personal choices, decisions and judgements that autonomous living implies.
The consultation document can be viewed on www.education.gov.mt and people can send in their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation comes to an end on January 15. Another two consulation documents will soon be launched. One is about the acquisition of core competences in early primary school years and the other concerns changing the secondary school leaving certificate so that half the weight would no longer be subject based.