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All schools to adopt international academic evaluation models soon.

Dubai Following Dubai's example, the Ministry of Education will for the first time assess the maths, science and reading skills of pupils as per international benchmarks.

Schools across the country will take part in TIMSS 2011 (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study), and PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, minister of education, announced yesterday.

Dubai participated in TIMSS 2007 but pupils from the Emirate's schools fell short of the international average score in both subjects.

Both TIMSS and PIRLS are conducted independently by the International Association for the Evaluation of educational Achievement, of the Lynch College of Education, Boston College, USA.

"The assessment will help us evaluate the skills of our students, enhance our curriculum accordingly and help us take policy decisions that will put our students on par with international standards," said Al Qutami.

Dr Abdullah Al Karam, chairman of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which introduced TIMSS in Dubai, said the agreement with the ministry could be seen as the fruition of efforts to introduce the first cycle of TIMSS.

"School inspections are more comprehensive evaluation of the performance of schools while assessments are more specific. It does not judge a school's performance against others. It only assesses," he said, adding that schools stood to benefit since the assessments would offer them one more tool to measure their standards," he said.

In the UAE, TIMMS and PIRLS assessments will be launched concurrently. TIMSS follows a four-year cycle and measures achievements in maths and science in Years 4 and 8. PIRLS run on a five-year cycle and tests pupils in Year 4 on reading comprehension. Both assessment models are due for their next cycle in 2011.

"We are taking part in TIMSS 2011 as a benchmark city so that in Dubai we can see what changes have taken place between the two assessments," said Fatma Al Merri, CEO of the Dubai Schools Agency.

Pilot tests will begin in accordance with both assessments in March/April 2010, and the actual assessments will take place in 2011. The results will be announced in 2012.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 16, 2009
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