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Brief History

In the school year 1991/92, a Common External Assessment of Knowledge (CEAK) in the mother tongue (Slovene, Italian or Hungarian) and Mathematics was introduced in the eight-year primary school programme as a component of the educational process; it was carried out by the Centre and the National Education Institute. CEAK was one of the instruments for classifying pupils when enrolling into secondary schools with limited enrolment (for reasons of space and the total number of candidates for any individual school year). CEAK was an assessment for classification purposes only; pupils only competed in knowledge and consequently, their achievement was not reliable information on how successful they were at school and did not have any influence on their grades in class.

1999 saw the beginning of primary education reform in Slovenia with the gradual introduction of the nine-year primary education system. In the nine-year primary education programme, education was divided into three-year periods: the first, the second and the third, at the end of which pupils' knowledge was to be assessed by the National Assessment of Knowledge (NAK). The NAK was a form of external assessment whose rules, procedures, content and criteria of assessment provided equal conditions of assessment for all pupils.

At the end of the first (in Year 3) and second periods (in Year 6) pupils could decide whether or not to undergo the NAK voluntarily. At the end of Period 1 they took tests in mother tongue and Mathematics and at the end of Period 2 in mother tongue, Mathematics and a modern foreign language (English or German). Results of the assessment gave additional information to schools, pupils and their parents on the pupils' achieved knowledge and had no influence on the final grade in individual subjects or the pupils' general achievement.

At the end of Period 3 (in Year 9) a Final Examination of Knowledge of Pupils (FEKP) was held; it was compulsory for all pupils. Pupils took tests in Slovene, Mathematics and either a modern foreign language or another optional subject. FEKP assumed the role of assessment of knowledge as its results were used to form final grades in the nine-year primary education programme and was one of the criteria for enrolment into secondary schools with limited enrolment. Pupils who did not take FEKP could not finish their nine-year primary education.

Changes in legislation brought several novelties in the school year 2005/06. Assessment at the end of Period 1 was abolished; however, the NAK at the end of Periods 2 and 3, i.e. for pupils from Years 6 and 9, remained compulsory. This form of assessment still exists today; pupils from Year 6 apply of their own accord; for pupils from Year 9, however, assessment is compulsory. In particular, the NAK at the end of Period 3 now has a different function and form as achievement in the NAK in Year 9 no longer bears any influence on the overall achievement in primary education; however, it can be considered as a criterion for the selection of candidates in cases of limited enrolment into secondary schools but only with previous agreement of pupils and their parents. The basic goal of the NAK, however, has remained unchanged despite the described changes: to acquire additional information or feedback on pupils' knowledge and to strive for a better quality of the learning and teaching processes.
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