Recommendation 3: Develop a coherent assessment and evaluation framework for informing policy and educational practice
In recent years Latvia has taken steps to establish and strengthen each of the key components that make up a comprehensive assessment and evaluation system. It has only partially succeeded with this, however, as the elements are not equally well developed and lack synergy. MoES recognises the situation and plans to strengthen the system’s monitoring and evaluation capacity in future years. The review team recommends it adopts a strategic approach rather than focusing on the individual assessment arrangements one by one. It should start by developing a coherent assessment and evaluation framework built around educational goals and improving student learning.
Latvia should invest in teachers’ capacity to assess the new curriculum’s competency-based learning objectives. MoES should not underestimate the complexity of this transition, which may prove particularly challenging given the teaching workforce’s long experience with a largely knowledge-driven curriculum.
The current teacher assessment system should be further developed into one geared towards supporting the professional development of teachers, and expanded to include school leaders. Such a system should be founded on the professional standards currently being developed. These should state the expectations for effective teachers and school leaders at various stages of their careers and inform them in their professional development.
The improvement function of school evaluations should be strengthened. The resources should be found to enable external school evaluations and follow-up support to cover more schools so that they do not miss out on the benefits that can arise from a critical but constructive external evaluation. This will also support the identification of higher-performing schools and dissemination of good practices. latvia should continue to promote the establishment of strong school self-evaluations, which are not yet fully embedded in schools. A possible way forward might be to hold school leaders more responsible for self-evaluations and for school leadership courses to include a significant element on school evaluation. The sEQs should further strengthen its follow-up support to schools and latvia should consider expanding its mandate to more explicitly report on the effectiveness of municipalities in supporting their schools. in addition, school leaders should be externally evaluated to support their professional development and school improvements.