Report on visit to Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

From 11 to 15 April 2022, RCEC’s Arnold Brouwer visited the Center for Pedagogical Measurements (CPM) under the Autonomous Educational Organisation ‘Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools’ (AEO-NIS) in Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan. The visit was part of the current project of the RCEC accreditation of the NIS Student Selection System to demonstrate that it meets international quality standards for educational measurement.

Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) are a platform in Kazakhstan in which modern models for educational programmes are implemented. The Intellectual Schools are specialised in Physics and Mathematics or in Chemistry and Biology and were established to teach gifted and talented children. The NIS platform was initiated by governmental decree.

So far, the NIS platform has gone a ten-year long path, with 21 NIS schools providing education to 16,000 students throughout the country. A professional teacher community has been developed, which comprises 2,550 teachers, including 103 international teachers. The teachers use innovative teaching and learning technology. The NIS educational programme has received recognition both in the country and abroad. Since 2010, more than 14,500 students have graduated from NIS to successfully continue their education at the best national and international universities.

The Center for Pedagogical Measurements was established in 2012 to develop and conduct all the assessment procedures for NIS. In collaboration with Cito, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Cambridge Assessment International Education, an assessment system unique in its content and integrity was developed. This student selection system ensures the enrolment of children apt to study the natural sciences and mathematics.

On Wednesday 13 April 2022 Arnold Brouwer visited the AEO-NIS office, to meet the CPM team and the AEO top management. He also had an enjoyable and instructive tour of two NIS schools, the School of Physics and Mathematics, and the Nazarbayev Intellectual School, both located in Nur-Sultan.

On Thursday 14 April 2022 and Friday 15 April 2022, a total of 25,000 children, spread across the country, took the selection test. Two exciting days for the children and their parents. Arnold Brouwer was present at both schools at Nur-Sultan as an external observer at the 2022 test administration. The test administration procedures were perfectly organised, with work being done in accordance with international quality standards.

RCEC thanks CPM for the hospitable and warm welcome and for the pleasant and instructive visit.