Research on the quality of the norming of the 2022 final tests for primary education

In the Netherlands there are several different primary education final tests that can be used: one Central Final Test is made available by the government and next to that several private providers offer a final test. Some time after the 2021 tests were normed, it was found that the norming of the Central Final Test and the norming of the private providers final tests differed more than expected. The renewed Act on Passage Tests for Primary Education, which will enter into force in the school year 2023-2024, is intended to solve this problem once and for all.

In the school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, the current Act End Tests Primary Education is still in effect. To prevent the norming problems from reoccurring, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has asked the Cito Foundation to develop a model that calculates the results for all students in a similar way, regardless of which final test was taken. Cito has developed two models that make this harmonisation of results possible.

Because working with these models is new, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has asked RCEC to conduct research into the validity of both models and the extent to which these models meet the requirements for final tests, as described in the Test Decree Primary Education.

RCEC specified the research question into four sub-questions. Research was conducted into the content validity, usability and legal validity of the two models. In addition, RCEC examined the conditions under which one of the two models could be abandoned.

RCEC concluded that the models developed for 2022 and 2023 are valid in terms of content, usable and legally valid. However, for the 2022 results the advice was given to correct for effects of, among others, the coronapandemic, after applying the models. Some recommendations were also made for steps to be taken in order to eventually abandon one of the two models.

The study report was sent to members of the House of Representatives on March 14, 2022. The report was also shared with the Education Inspectorate, the Expert Group on Primary Education Tests, the Board for Tests and Examinations (CvTE) and with the various providers of a final test.

For more information:

The chamber letter containing the announcement of the RCEC investigation (in Dutch).

The chamber letter containing the conclusion and advice of RCEC (in Dutch).

The RCEC research report ‘Research into the quality of the norming of the 2022 final tests for primary education’ (in Dutch).