The objectives set by the President of Kazakhstan Republic, Nursultan Nazarbayev on entering in 50 most competitive countries of the world, have dramatically changed the educational requirements. The purpose of the new model of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) criteria based assessments is to provide an internationally recognized summative measure of the knowledge, skills and understanding that a learner has acquired. The examinations are administered rigorously and securely to international standards, leading to qualifications that are accepted nationally and internationally. The assessment aims to identify what learners know and are able to do following a course of formal study and establish whether they are able to use the skills relating to the subject within the global environment of the 21st century, using problem solving and higher order thinking and analytical skills.
Strategic partner, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) recognizes that the mission of NIS is to develop innovative, critical and creative independent thinkers, able to take their place at the forefront of their country’s technological and cultural future and ready to make a strong contribution on the international stage. Assessment can embrace many different activities, including written examinations, verbal responses, practical activities, witness statements, coursework portfolios and presentations. Well-designed assessments, whatever their purpose, must be strong,valid,reliable, practicable and positive in their impact on those who use them. CIE sends experienced teachers/trainers, who have degrees in Engineering and Natural Sciences from Cambridge University or Qualified Teacher Status in the UK. Also those who authored Schemes of Work and Programs of Study for individual educational establishments and advised NIS teachers on the Subject Program and advised on the development of the Test Specifications. Language subject assessments reflect the NIS trilingual policy, the main aim of which is to teach learners in a trilingual environment and assess learning in Kazakh, Russian and English. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is used as a general benchmark to compare standards of achievement in three languages. It is important to note, though, that the CEFR was not designed with mother tongue languages in mind, so a difference in approach are adopted for L1/L2 and for L3. The target graduation level of L1, L2 and L3 would be CEFR C2, C2, and C1 respectively. All four language skills in L3 – reading, writing, listening and speaking – are tested, and at grade 12 Use of English is assessed.
In conclusion it is imortant to emphasize that this is highly innovative for Kazakhstan to create new type of assessment within the secondary school education system and according to NIS teachers, this is the beginning of changes in the culture of assessment.
Bridges, D. (2014). Educational reform and internationalization: School reform in Kazakhstan. UK: Cambridge University Press.