Tenth Meeting of Alliance USETI Partners

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


On December 18th the Ukrainian Standardized External Testing Initiative Alliance (USETI Alliance) and the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv held the tenth partner's meeting with support from the USAID Mission in Ukraine.  The goal of the meeting was to recap what the Alliance has done in the three years of its existence and to discuss the possibilities for continued cooperation to develop and improve the system of higher education in Ukraine.  Alliance partners that were present during the meeting included representatives from: the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports, the Ukrainian and regional Centers for Educational Quality Assessment, establishments of higher education and community organizations that work in the sphere of education.

Yarema Bachynskiy, Director of USETI Alliance opened the meeting with a welcome address.  In his address Mr. Bachynskiy thanked everyone for the past year of productive cooperation and expressed his hope that this work will continue.  Mr. Bachynskiy then introduced and gave the floor over to members of the meeting's presidium: Yevhen Sulima, Interim Minister of Education and Science, Youth and Sports, Iryna Zaytseva, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment and Volodymyr Buhrov, Vice-Chancellor of the Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

In his address, Mr. Sulima emphasized that cooperation with Alliance USETI is informal but effectual.  "If one were to follow the development of testing technologies since 2007, significant progress would be noted.  We no longer have to convince people that testing is necessary; we are now focused on developing quality tests and identifying what the next phase of developing external independent testing (EIT) should be."  Additionally, Mr. Sulima stated that when evaluating the Alliance's work constructive criticism of relevant efforts should be voiced and destructive criticism about unrelated or uncontrollable events should be checked.

Mr. Buhrov, Vice-Chancellor of the Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (SNUK) also shared his impressions of working for an extended period of time with Alliance.  His presentation focused on the development of higher education.  He emphasized what he believes to be the most pressing current problems in Ukraine and called on Alliance partners to work on addressing them.  In his opinion the two most pressing current problems are implementing a system of monitoring the quality of education and involving the labor market in the educational process.  Mr. Buhrov also shared developments which occurred at his university over recent years.  Specifically this includes creating an educational monitoring subdivision which is based out of the SNUK sociology laboratory, conducting groundbreaking research on educational quality and lastly having specialists from Naftohaz participate in the state certification process of geology graduates.

Ms. Zaytseva, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment also emphasized that in the past years EIT has established a good basis for further development.  She acknowledged that this was possible thanks to the support received from Alliance partners and most importantly from the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports.  Ms Zaytseva also shared news about an educational monitoring project being piloted by the Kharkiv Regional Center for Educational Quality Assessment.

During the meeting representatives of partner organizations made presentations on experiments conducted on technology.  The key speakers on this topic included: Serhiy Rakov, Director of the Department of Research, Volodymyr Kovtunets, Legal Advisor for Alliance USETI, Leonid Tovazhnyans'kyy, Chancellor of the National Technical University Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute and Vadym Karandiy, Associate Director of the UCEQA.

Mr. Rakov focused on implementing testing technologies in Ukraine from 2007-2012.  In his presentation Mr. Rakov highlighted the main achievements in testing and credited Alliance USETI for getting them implemented.  The specific achievements he touched on include: analytical research which evaluated the quality of the EIT based admission system to HEIs focusing on criteria such as effectiveness, fairness and public perception, the introduction of a mandatory class for all pedagogy related majors entitled "Fundamentals of Pedagogical Measurement," creating a Master's program in Educational Evaluation at three pedagogical HEIs in Ukraine,  creating an exchange program between Ukrainian test writers and their colleagues from the best universities of the world, assessing how well secondary schools and establishments of higher education prepare their graduates and supporting the publication of TIMO magazine which is currently the most authoritative and innovative pedagogical-methodological publication.  Lastly, Mr. Rakov drew attention to the high level of confidence the public has in the EIT based HEI admission system as is evidenced by surveys conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation.

Mr. Tovazhnyans'kyy, as a Chancellor of a HEI shared problems with EIT which become apparent during the admission campaign.  He also demonstrated how EIT scores from different years do not consistently rank applicants and stated that this distorts the objectivity during the admission process.  He stressed the need to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Volodymyr Kovtunets's presentation dealt with how independent testing allows the quality of education to be monitored.  Mr. Kovtunets stressed the objectivity of evaluation criteria and focused attention on the role of monitoring the quality of education and using the results to improve a functional system of higher education in Ukraine.

The last presentation was given by Vadym Karandiy, Associate Director of the UCEQA.  It covered the development of technologies and legal protection for independent testing.  Mr. Karandiy reminded those gathered of the steps Ukrainian legislators have taken to legally regulate education and highlighted similarities with how admission campaigns are held in other countries.  He drew attention to the areas that still need to be worked on in order to improve the educational process and improve the quality of education.

After each panel completed their presentations guests had the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and discuss the issues presented.

In his closing address Interim Minister Sulima noted that implementing new ideas, such as general scholastic aptitude testing and others, should be done only after the EIT process is completely finalized and fully implemented in all relevant areas of higher education.

Summing up the Tenth Alliance Partner meeting Yarema Bachynskiy, Director of the Ukrainian Standardized External Testing Initiative Alliance expressed his thanks to everyone who cooperated with USETI Alliance to develop Ukraine's system of education.  He also expressed the hope that this process will continue in the upcoming years.





Alliance USETI


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