The scores from the nationwide tests of Bulgarian pupils in the seventh grade this year are better than last year’s. Pupils have done better in tests held in Bulgarian Language and Literature, Mathematics, Chemistry and Environmental Protection, Biology and Health Education, compared to seventh graders examined last year. The figures have been provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science.
Nationwide tests have been held for a third year in a row in Bulgaria. This year the average score in Bulgarian Language and Literature is Very Good at 4.51, and in Mathematics Good at 4.30, given that the lowest mark in this country is 2 and the highest is 6. Only five seventh grade pupils in the whole country have the full score of 6 in Bulgarian Language and Literature. One-hundred and sixty one teenagers have the highest score in Mathematics. There are quite a few poor marks as well, however. What was the most difficult part of the tests this year?
“The problems that pupils failed to solve vary”, Milena Damyanova, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Science explains. “The good thing is that they have solved the new problems, and this is important. These are problems of the open type and problems from the international PISA tests that are focused on analysis and extraction of information. For example, there was a problem asking pupils to find the connection between the content of a given text and the information arranged in graphs. Pupils have successfully solved such problems, and this is good news. Pointing to synonyms of a word in a sentence or the interpretation of a phrase are problems that have been solved successfully by pupils as well. What they found more difficult was to determine the type of complex sentence and to find punctuation mistakes.”
This year again the highest average scores were achieved by the pupils from Sofia, followed by pupils from Gabrovo, Varna and Smolyan. The lowest scores were seen in Dobritch, Silistra and Razgrad, all in Northeastern Bulgaria. From among schools, the best scores have come from the mathematical schools in Sofia, Ruse, Varna and Burgas, and from a private school in Sofia. The comparison of scores achieved by the same pupils in the fourth grade and now in the seventh grade however, suggests that three years ago they fared better. Experts argue that this is due to that from the first to the fourth grade pupils are taught by only one teacher while from the 5th to 7th grade they have different teachers for different subjects. It is also true that in the 7th grade the material taught at school is much more difficult.
Nationwide tests are important as they provide educationists with adequate strategies for the development of the Bulgarian education. New school curricula will be drafted by mid-August and will be tested at a public discussion. They will stake on more practical exercises that have to take up about 40 percent of the time of pupils at school, leaving 60 percent to theory. Besides, the results from nationwide tests should be analysed at the regional level too, so that problems are removed on the spot.
Translated by Daniela Konstantinova