Thailand’s Education Ministry is considering scrapping the Ordinary National Education Test (O-Net), following a directive by Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan.
The permanent secretary for education, Supat Chumpathong, said he will meet with the director of the National Institute of Educational Testing Services (NIETS), Sirada Burachart, to discuss the fate of the standardised test.
He also said there have been several proposals to replace O-Net with a different type of test to assess the quality of students. O-Net measures students’ basic knowledge in four key subjects — mathematics, sciences, English and Thai languages.
Another proposal pushed for the O-Net to be taken by Grade 6 students only, so the ministry can adjust the curriculum for older students, based on the test results.
The permanent secretary told the Bangkok Post that the O-Net is currently seen more as an academic competition, rather than a tool for children’s development.
Many concerned parties have also proposed that the O-Net should be randomly administered on students, like the Programme for International Student Assessment test, said Mr Supat. The permanent secretary admitted that there are still students who have not participated in O-Net.
Ordinary National Educational Test
The Ordinary National Educational Test (O-NET) is administered annually by the National Institute of Educational Testing Service to grade 6 (ISCED 1), grade 9 (ISCED 2) and grade 12 (ISCED 3) students in public and private schools.
The O-NET was first administered to grade 12 students in 2005, and then was extended to grade 6 students in 2007, and to grade 9 students in 2008.
The O-NET is a high-stake and mandatory examination. The final score which determines promotion to the next grade is based on the O-NET score and the score obtained on school-based assessments held during the academic year; the O-NET contributes 20% and school-based assessments contribute 80% of the final score. In the near future, the O-NET will contribute 50% of the final score.
The O-NET is a written examination, administered face-to-face and delivered through paper-pencil tests in Thailand. All test-takers are presented with the same cognitive booklets or tests, which are aligned with the Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E 2551 (A.D 2008).