National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements (Slovakia) – NUCEM

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The National Institute for Certified Educational Measurements (NUCEM) is a state-run organisation with legal personality founded by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. Currently, in 2017, NUCEM has 43 internal employees.

NUCEM acts as a national certification authority for regional education in Slovakia. It implements national measurements and international testing in both stages of primary schools (ISCED 1 and ISCED 2) as well as in all types of secondary schools (secondary grammar schools, secondary vocational schools) in Slovakia.

The primary mission of NUCEM is:
• the implementation of national certified educational measurements in primary and secondary schools (including VET);
• research and development in the field of measuring and assessing the quality of education;
• monitoring learning outcomes at national level as well as in international context;
• the evaluation of educational quality at primary and secondary schools (including VET) with respect to national curriculum – educational programmes.

NUCEM develops testing tools in general comprehensive subjects of the national curriculum from a professional standpoint, evaluates the results of measurements at the level of schools and learners. In NUCEM, great emphasis is put on the evaluation and development of key competences – reading comprehension, as well as mathematical, scientific, and financial literacy of students. Based on the analysis of learners’ results, NUCEM provides feedback both to schools to improve the educational process and to the developers of the curriculum, thus affecting changes to the national curriculum. Besides the data processed from the cognitive measurements, NUCEM also evaluates and processes the data about the social context of education in the individual schools (learners from socially disadvantaged background, learners with special educational needs, also the climate of the school/class and so on). By linking cognitive data with contextual factors, NUCEM provides the ministry as well as the stakeholders with key information about the evaluation of the results of schools in Slovakia. It clearly indicates that data obtained only from measurements of the key competencies (reading, mathematical, scientific literacy) are insufficient to provide a complex evaluation of learners’ skills and potential in proving to be competent in the labor market. Therefore, NUCEM begins focusing professionally on the field of evaluation, the so-called transversal key competencies.

The main tasks of NUCEM include:
• providing the external part and the written form of the internal part of the secondary school-leaving examination (Maturita, e-Maturita
• development of testing tools for external examinations or tests, their distribution to schools and educational facilities;
• providing statistical evaluation of measurements and analyses of the obtained data;
• providing methodological and expert guidance for educational institutions in the field of measurements of learning outcomes and evaluation of the quality of educational process;
• professional cooperation with research, methodological and interest organisations operating in the area of education;
• cooperation with teachers and developers of educational programmes;
• providing continuing education for teachers;
• cooperation with international partners (e.g. OECD, IEA);
• implementation and management of national projects: “Evaluation of the quality of education at primary and secondary schools in Slovakia in the context of ongoing content reform in education”, “Increasing the quality of education at primary and secondary schools with the use of electronic testing”;
• publishing activities (the conference and seminar proceedings, reports and articles).

NUCEM performs several important international measurements of educational quality. The purpose of these measurements is to track and monitor the development of educational systems in international context in relation to the education in the Slovak Republic, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of educational systems and find the possibilities to improve them.

At present, NUCEM implements seven international studies:
• OECD studies: PISA, TALIS
• IEA studies: PIRLS, TIMSS, ICILS, ICCS.