General information

Brief history

The 1991/1992 academic year saw the introduction of school leaving assessment tests in a mother tongue (Slovene, Italian or Hungarian) and Mathematics as a component of eight-year primary education. This was overseen by the Centre and the National Education Institute Slovenia. School leaving assessment tests were one of the instruments for ranking pupils (all prospective candidates in any individual academic year) on enrolment into secondary schools which restricted admission due to a lack of space. School leaving assessment tests were therefore ‘assessment for ranking’: pupils competed in knowledge, but their achievements did not provide accurate information on how successful the schools were in doing their job and did not have any bearing on course grades.

In 1999, the gradual introduction of nine-year primary education began. The reform of primary education introduced the division of nine-year primary education into three equal key stages (i.e. KS1, KS2 and KS3). At the end of each three-year key stage, pupils’ achievements were to be tested with standard assessment tests (SATs). SATs were a form of external assessment of knowledge which – based on rules, procedures, content and assessment criteria – provided equal conditions of assessment for all pupils.

At the end of KS1 (Year 3, age 9) and KS2 (Year 6, age 12), pupils took SATs on a voluntary basis. At the end of KS1, pupils sat tests in Slovene and Mathematics, and at the end of KS2, tests in Slovene, Mathematics and a foreign language (English or German). SATs results provided additional information for schools, pupils and their parents on pupils’ achievements and had no bearing on the final grade in a subject or on pupils’ general academic achievement.

At the end of KS3 (Year 9, age 15), SATs were compulsory for all pupils. Pupils sat tests in Slovene, Mathematics and a foreign language or another optional subject. Here, SATs were used to evaluate pupils’ knowledge and the results had bearing on the final grade in a subject, being used as one of the criteria for enrolment in secondary schools with restricted admission. Pupils who did not take SATs did not complete primary education.

The 2005/2006 academic year saw a change of legislation which brought some novelties, the major one being that SATs at the end of KS1 were abolished. SATs are still in place at the end of KS2 and KS3, i.e. for pupils of Years 6 and 9. SATs at the end of KS3 in particular now have a different function and format, as these achievements no longer have any bearing on final academic achievement in primary education. They can be taken into consideration as a criterion for candidate selection in the case of restricted admission into secondary schools only as an exception, and only in the case that a pupil and their parents have agreed to it. SATs’ primary objective, however, has remained unchanged: to acquire additional information and feedback on pupils’ achievements and contribute to efforts for a higher quality of teaching and learning.