Following education ombudsman report, AD calls on MATSEC to overhaul ‘archaic’ assessment systems

Alternattiva Demokratika has urged the education board to ‘embrace new technologies’ in a bid to improve the educational experience of those suffering from learning difficulties

The education ombudsman report on special needs students’ access to MATSEC exams found that between 2014 and 2016, candidates suffering from ADHD, autism and dyslexia who sat for the Maltese, English and Mathematics O level had a success rate that was less than half of those of other candidates
The education ombudsman report on special needs students’ access to MATSEC exams found that between 2014 and 2016, candidates suffering from ADHD, autism and dyslexia who sat for the Maltese, English and Mathematics O level had a success rate that was less than half of those of other candidates

Green Party Alternattiva Demokratika has decried the MATSEC board’s “overly bureaucratic and archaic systems”, urging it to support students with learning difficulties by providing assessment methods that cater to their needs.

The move comes days after a report by the education ombudsman on special needs students’ access to MATSEC exams found that between 2014 and 2016, candidates suffering from ADHD, autism and dyslexia who sat for the Maltese, English and Mathematics O levels had a success rate that was less than half of those of other candidates.

Commissioner for Education Charles Farrugia said in the report that it was reasonable to conclude that the results are not just down to candidates’ innate conditions, but also to insufficient access support by the University of Malta, which organises the MATSEC examinations.

In a statement issued today, AD spokesperson Anna Azzopardi said that youths should be given as much accessibility and should be empowered to succeed in their exams.

"It is unacceptable that young people are unable to reach their full potential later on in life merely because the assessment methods are subject to overly bureaucratic and archaic systems,” she said.

“They should be tested and assessed on their knowledge, and their ability to express their knowledge might be hindered by the way the examination process is designed. Thus examinations and assessments should be designed in a way which ensures the fruitfulness of the learning process, and which does not turn the learning process into a nightmare," she added.

Azzopardi pointed out that the report noted that the systems which allow pupils access and support, such as psychological evaluation and statementing systems, are difficult to access, both for financial and logistical reasons. She said that it was unacceptable that the future of young people “is put at risk” for such reasons.

“The provision of support and access should be an efficient one which starts from the first day of compulsory education. It should be easily accessible to everyone in an equitable manner, and finances should not be a further barrier.”

Azzopardi said the MATSEC board should be “ready and open to embrace new technologies as part of a changing world,” insisting that young people have the right to choose and perform to the highest of their potential in life. “For this to be done, they need to be given an equitable and efficient start.”

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