• Українська
  • Русский
  • English
Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

The last school bell

On Friday school-leavers all over Ukraine bade farewell to their schools, facing the final tests pawing the way for adult life. Godspeed!
3 June, 2008 - 00:00
Photo by Artem HRYNCHENKO

Last week all of Ukraine’s schools went through the last- bell ceremony. For the junior graders it meant the beginning of the summer vacations, but for the eleventh-graders — the start of the most trying period of final tests for the “state examinations.” All school-leavers will take them, but the results will not affect the marks in their secondary-education certificates. The school-leavers also received the first certificates with their independent Ukrainian language, literature and mathematics test result.

According to the teaching staff of Kyiv’s Special School no. 130, the graduates gathered for the first test with a worried expression in their eyes. It was their first serious trial.

Says School no. 130’s Principal Maryna Pishchalkovska: “Compared to last year, the current academic year has proved rather complicated, considering that independent testing was not an experiment but as a set of official compulsory examinations. This year we have faced considerably more organizational problems. Whereas previously instruction was completed in May, whereupon the schoolchildren were given time to get prepared for the summing-up state certification, this time the tests began in mid-April while classes were still underway. Needles to say, the children and the teaching staff had an extra academic payload to handle. On the other hand, this testing method is good, considering that its results will allow school-leavers to enroll in institutions of higher learning. International practice shows, however, that all such tests begin in May — in other words, toward the end of the academic year. It appears illogical to practice written tests in Ukrainian on April 22, when there is more than a month until the end of the academic year. Perhaps the pupils could have got better prepared for in the remaining three or four weeks. It is important that our remarks be heard by the organizers of the independent testing system.”

Despite the complexities of independent evaluation, its results appear to satisfy most teachers and pupils. Liudmyla Bairak, the deputy for the teaching process to the principal of School no. 4 in the town of Zhmerynka, told The Day that none of their school-leavers has scored less than 124 points, which means passing muster for the certificate. This school has its recordholders, with 11-B Grade Kateryna Polianska having scored the largest number of points.

Says Kateryna: “After opening the envelope with the test results, I was happy to discover that I had received a 10 (177.5 points) in Ukrainian and 11 (192 points) in Mathematics. I believe that this external testing is a very good way for the pupils to demonstrate their knowledge. Our school is among those that took part in last year’s experimental testing, so everyone was very excited. All of us had received considerable help from our parents and teachers Without them we wouldn’t have shown such good results. Now we all of us are faced with enrolment in higher educational establishments and embarking on the road leading to adult life. External independent testing was a very important step toward our future.”

By Inna FILIPENKO, The Day