Latvian ninth-grade school exam results are in

Graduates of year 9 have received their centralized exam results. Pupils have performed best in the English exam this year, while the lowest results are in math, Latvian Television reported on June 27.

About 18,000 secondary school graduates took centralized exams this year. They were required to take three centralized examinations: in Latvian, maths, and a foreign language: in English, French, or German. 

State Educational Content Center (VISC) believes the exams for year 9 haven't been more difficult this year than usual. The results can't be compared directly to the performance of previous years, since exams for year 9 were graded centrally for the first time this year, and for the first time, the score is expressed as a percentage, not a mark.

The results collected show the best results in English, with an average score of 67%. Overall, good skills were reported in all parts of the exam, but 143 students did not pass the exam.

A lower result is in Latvian – 58%. 90 students did not pass the exam.  But as always, the weakest result is in math — an average of 51%. In addition, the highest number of students failing the exam is also in math, at 826.

21 pupils have passed the math exam with 100%. It is concluded that there is a need to step up support for students who do not understand math because there is an increasing gap between students' performance.

"This is not a classic, normal division. This exam, for a group with relatively lower performance in math, has been a difficult or challenging exam. For students with good performance in math, however, this has been a very easy exam. At the moment, relatively poor performance is for those tasks that were acquired in year 7. Year 7 for us [these pupils] is Covid time. The gap between good performance and underperformance is likely to grow in the coming years," said Liene Voroņenko, head of THE VISC.

VISC also drew attention to distance learning programs in which year 9 students failed more frequently in math than in the country on average. It was a signal that this form of education might not be more appropriate among younger students.

If the pupil has not obtained at least 10% in one of the examinations, the pupil shall receive a statement on repeating the school year. 

The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) also made a mistake in communicating the results of the examinations as a result of which they were known later than they should have been, causing some issues with applying for high school. The system, which was introduced to communicate the data electronically, has cost around €1.5 million.

"At the moment, regarding the results of high school exams, we are very confident that this will not happen again. Because the problems that caused the lag have been identified. Consequently, it's not that we wouldn't know why this happened. Consequently, we anticipate that on July 11, at nine o'clock in the morning, pupils will have the results," said Ilmārs Rikmanis, head of development for solutions at the IZM Information Technology Department.

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