Danish school-leaving test should no longer include assessment of social and personal skills – minister

Every year in Denmark, around 60,000 children aged 15-16 learn the result of an assessment that has tested their suitability for further education – either at upper secondary school or a vocational school to learn a subject.

In 2021, 6,896 students failed the educational readiness assessment because they were assessed as not ready for further education – 11 percent of the applicants.

Most of them failed for academic reasons, but almost a third, about 1,930 students, were rejected because of their lack of social and personal skills, a matter of great concern to the Minister of Children and Education, Mattias Tesfaye.

The minister submits the bill to the Danish Parliament
Tesfaye backs the findings of a working group set up by Parliament in 2021, which has given the assessment … a very poor assessment.

Tesfaye therefore wants to scrap the social and personal skills element of the assessment because he believes “young people should be assessed on what they can do and not on who they are”, and he is preparing a bill for parliament to change the test. A majority is reportedly in favor of doing so.

“When you are going to enter a youth education, it must be about having the professional prerequisites. In other words, you are good enough for Danish, mathematics and the other subjects we have at school. It shouldn’t be about whether you are personally or socially ready,” reasoned Tesfaye.

Lots of boxes to tick
According to the Ministry of Children and Education, the assessment of the child’s social skills includes an evaluation of their tolerance towards people who are different from them, their respect and empathy and their overall ability to work as a team.

The assessment of personal skills includes an evaluation of their motivation for education and desire to learn, independence and initiative, responsibility, punctuality and absence registration, as well as overall preparedness.

The assessment involves a mountain of paperwork that demands a lot of resources from the already stretched schools.

Supported by the schools
Errors in the test can often put the child in a downward spiral, the minister states – and Henrik Nevers, chairman of Danske Gymnasier, agrees that it is demotivating.

“We think this is the right way to go. Firstly, we don’t care about the signal value of telling young people that they are not ready for education at all,” he said to DR.

“Instead, we must convey that somewhere in the education system there is room for all young people.”

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Source: The Nordic Page




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