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Hungary:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Hungary

Contents

Hungary:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Hungary:Historical Development

Hungary:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Hungary:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Hungary:Political and Economic Situation

Hungary:Organisation and Governance

Hungary:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Hungary:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Hungary:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Hungary:Organisation of Private Education

Hungary:National Qualifications Framework

Hungary:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Hungary:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Hungary:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Hungary:Funding in Education

Hungary:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Hungary:Higher Education Funding

Hungary:Adult Education and Training Funding

Hungary:Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Hungary:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Hungary:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Hungary:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Hungary:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Organisation of General Secondary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in General Secondary Education

Hungary:Assessment in General Secondary Education

Hungary:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Hungary:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Hungary:Higher Education

Hungary:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Hungary:First Cycle Programmes

Hungary:Bachelor

Hungary:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Hungary:Second Cycle Programmes

Hungary:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Hungary:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Hungary:Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Distribution of Responsibilities

Hungary:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Hungary:Main Providers

Hungary:Main Types of Provision

Hungary:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Hungary:Teachers and Education Staff

Hungary:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Management and Other Education Staff

Hungary:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Hungary:Management Staff for Higher Education

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Hungary:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Quality Assurance

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Hungary:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Educational Support and Guidance

Hungary:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Hungary:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Hungary:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Hungary:Mobility and Internationalisation

Hungary:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Mobility in Higher Education

Hungary:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Hungary:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Hungary:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Hungary:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Hungary:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Hungary:National Reforms in School Education

Hungary:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Hungary:National Reforms in Higher Education

Hungary:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Hungary:European Perspective

Hungary:Legislation

Hungary:Institutions

Hungary:Bibliography

Hungary:Glossary

In order to assure the quality (efficiency, effectiveness and equity) of school education, the government has recently modified the structure of the network of schools and introduced a new governance and control model. School maintenance has changed significantly: in most cases the municipality continues to operate school infrastructure but the central level has taken over several tasks. The state defines catchment areas and curricula and employs teachers and other educational staff. Municipalities continue to maintain kindergartens. Municipalities are not in charge of quality development anymore; school-district level governance and a national inspection system for checking and evaluating teaching was introduced instead. As a result, similarly to most EU countries, in addition to internal evaluation (by schools themselves) and the evaluation carried out by school maintainers, Hungary now also operates a regular external evaluation, based on uniform rules for all levels (ISCED 0-3) and publicly available criteria.

The national quality assurance system of kindergartens and schools as well as their staff has several elements including the internal evaluation (self-evaluation) of institutions, the external pedagogical-professional evaluation (inspection) and the results of students at standardised tests.

Responsible bodies

The Minister responsible for education has the following roles in relation to evaluation and quality assurance:

  • operating the national evaluation system: operating the Educational Authority, which undertakes national and regional checking, assessment/testing and evaluation
  • regulatory tasks: regulating the activities of evaluation such as procedures for national testing, secondary school leaving and entrance examinations and the national registry of educational experts
  • information supporting evaluation: operating the (statistical) information system of school education
  • ordering ad-hoc thematic evaluations (assessment, research or checking supporting evaluation)
  • evaluation of national curricula: experience on the implementation of major curricular documents has to be evaluated every three years.

The Minister fulfils the above responsibilities by maintaining and operating specialised government agencies, funding their relating activities, services and projects and by funding projects through tendering.

Educational Authority:

The Educational Authority organises national tests/assessment, legality and educational inspections and secondary school leaving exams. Additionally, as an administrative authority, it also participates in accrediting in-service teacher training programmes and examination centres as well as maintaining the registry of exam chairs and education experts. The registry of education experts holds the names and fields of experts who participate in teacher or school evaluation (inspection).

It regularly inspects the activities of education experts, state accredited language exam centres and in-service teacher training providers. It also operates the statistical information system of school education, which contains all the data on school education, including the results of national assessments broken down to individual schools. It analyses and keeps records of the results of the inspections and evaluations it conducts and reports on them to the Minister.

Approaches and methods for quality assurance

Pedagogical programme

The pedagogical programmes of schools and the educational programmes of kindergartens are key documents for teaching. These programmes contain the pedagogical and educational objectives and principles of the institution, the local curriculum, activities supporting teaching and all the services provided by the institution. Stakeholders are consulted before the adoption of the programme, which then has to be made publicly available. This document serves as the basis for the operation, inspection and evaluation of the institution.

Internal evaluation by the school head

The school head is responsible for the educational tasks carried out by the institution. He may initiate an internal evaluation of the institution and teachers, which is carried out by external experts.

Evaluation by the maintainer

The maintainer is responsible for evaluating the efficiency of the institution, the effectiveness of teaching and the implementation of the pedagogical programme.

National pedagogical evaluation (inspection)

The aim of the national inspection is to evaluate teaching and education at educational institutions by evaluating teachers, school heads and the fulfilment of the goals set by the institution itself, and in this way to support the development of the institution. It is under the responsibility of the minister responsible for education and the inspection is organised by the Educational Authority with the help of the county level government offices, which contracts experts for carrying out the inspection. Each school (public, private and denominational) is inspected every five years, and during the inspection an evaluation report is produced. The inspection is supportive, no sanctions follow it in case of weaknesses revealed.

It has three types: inspection of teachers, school heads and institutions.

Inspection of teachers

Teachers are evaluated on the basis of general pedagogical criteria, in order to improve their pedagogical skills. It is inspected to what extent the work of teachers meets general pedagogical criteria, the objectives of the National Core Curriculum and the pedagogical programme of the school.

The evaluation concerns the following eight areas:

  • methods used 
  • the personality development of students, individualised teaching, the methods used for the inclusive teaching of disadvantaged or SEN children/pupils and those with behavioural, learning difficulties
  • community development of classes/groups, motivating students to be open towards cultural and social diversity 
  • planning teaching processes and reflecting on their implementation
  • supporting learning
  • continuous evaluation of teaching processes and the personality development of pupils
  • problem-solving, communication and cooperation with colleagues
  • commitment to professional development

With the exception of the first area, the areas are the same as the areas of teacher appraisal in the promotion system. Thus the findings of the inspection are taken into consideration at the promotion of a teacher.

Methods of the inspection:
  • examination of documents, e.g. syllabus, lesson plan, class register and pupils’ exercise books
  • observation of teaching or activities: observing goals, content, structure, methods and effectiveness
  • interviews with the teacher and school head: discussing the classes/activities observed, providing additional information. Following the teacher interview the interview with the school head takes place but without the presence of the teacher.

Output: After the interviews an appraisal sheet is produced, which contains the strengths and weaknesses of the teacher in the eight areas examined. The teacher has the opportunity to add comments and then it is attached to his/her portfolio. Following the inspection the teacher also evaluates the work of the evaluators using a standardised evaluation sheet.

Inspection of school heads

School heads are evaluated on the basis of pedagogical and leadership criteria, taking into account achievements made on his/her goals. The objective is to develop the pedagogical and management skills of institution heads.

The evaluation concerns the following five areas:

  • Strategic and operational management of teaching and learning
  • Strategic and operational management of changes
  • Strategic and operational management of himself/herself
  • Strategic and operational management of others
  • Strategic and operational management of the institution

Participants of the evaluation: external experts, staff, parents, the school head (self-evaluation) and the school maintainer. The two participating experts are trained by the Educational Authority and at least one of them has leadership experience and qualification.

Methods of the inspection:

  • the analysis of questionnaires circulated among staff and parents
  • examination of documents, e.g. the management programme, pedagogical programme of the school, rules organisation and operation, 2 annual work plans and annual reports, documents of self-evaluation of the school, self-evaluation of school head
  • interviews with the employer, the school head and other management staff to collect additional information

Output: After the interviews an appraisal sheet is produced, which contains the strengths and weaknesses of the school head in the five areas above. Following the inspection the school head also evaluates the work of the evaluators using a standardised evaluation sheet.

Inspection of institutions

The teaching staff elaborates the pedagogical programme of the institution when an institution is founded. This work is led by the school head. The programme contains the mission of the school, the principles, values and goals as well as the related tasks and resources. The inspection aims at identifying how the educational institution achieved the goals set in the pedagogical programme in order to improve teaching.

The evaluation concerns the following seven areas:

  • pedagogical processes
  • personality and school community development
  • results
  • internal relations and cooperation
  • external relations
  • conditions of teaching
  • meeting the requirements of the National Core Curriculum and the pedagogical programme of the school

Frequency: at least once in every five years, based on a county-level inspection schedule, provided that 60% of the teachers have been inspected and the school head has been inspected or is inspected during the inspection of the institution.

Methods of the inspection:

  • examination of documents, e.g. deeds of foundation, pedagogical programme, Rules of Organisation and Operation, annual work plan and annual report, plan for professional development of staff
  • reviewing the self-evaluation of the school
  • analysis of the results of pupils at standardised tests (National Assessment of Basic Competences) in the last five years
  • reviewing the findings of inspections from the last five years as well as the action plans designed on their basis
  • reviewing the findings of inspections of teachers
  • questionnaire surveys conducted with teachers, other staff, parents and other partners (satisfaction surveys)
  • interviews with school head, management staff, teachers, parents and the maintaining body
  • observation: site visit aiming at clarifying and verifying information and collecting additional information.

Output: The findings of the inspection are drawn up in a summary report, which is delivered to the school head and the school maintaining body in a week after the inspection. It contains strengths and weaknesses in the seven areas observed. It is published on the school’s website. The school head prepares a five-year action plan (development plan) on the basis of the report, setting out the tasks needed for the improvement of teaching. It is approved by the teaching staff in 30 days after the inspection and is then sent to the school maintainer.

The criteria and methods applied during inspection are publicly available and apply to all types and levels of educational institutions. However, there are also elements specific to the various subsectors of education and therefore special standards have been drafted for the following types of institutions:

  • kindergartens
  • basic schools (single-structure primary and lower secondary schools)
  • upper secondary general schools
  • upper secondary vocational schools
  • halls of residence
  • basic art schools
  • special education schools/institutions
  • institutions providing specialist pedagogical services

Teacher appraisal in the teacher promotion system  

Teacher appraisal (qualification examination, qualification procedure) is part of the teacher promotion system. Teacher promotion takes account of the natural professional development of teachers and specifies the following levels: Trainee, Teacher 1, Teacher 2, Master teacher, Research teacher. Teacher appraisal is obligatory for the first three levels and optional for Master teachers and Research teachers. Progression in these levels corresponds to increasing remuneration.    
  • A two-year traineeship is followed by a qualification examination. After passing it, a Teacher 1 status is awarded. If failing, the Trainee may retake the qualification exam once within two years. If failing it again, the Trainee is dismissed.
  • After working as a Teacher 1 for 6 years, teachers may enter a qualification procedure but after working as a Teacher 1 for 9 years, they have to enter a qualification procedure to become a Teacher 2. The qualification exam may be retaken once but in case of failing it for the second time, the teacher is dismissed.
  • After working as a Teacher 2 for 6 years and passing a postgraduate specialist exam, teachers may enter a qualification procedure to become Master teachers. Master teachers (in addition to teaching) participate in inspection and teacher appraisal or act as consultants for school subjects. To perform these tasks, they have shorter working time.
  • A Teacher 2 with a PhD degree and publishing regularly may apply to become a Research teacher.

Qualification procedures and examinations are organised by local government offices. A committee undertakes the appraisal of the teacher with the following participants: a Master teacher and education expert registered on the National List of Experts; in case of the qualification exam of a Trainee an academic staff of teacher training programme of a university or college or a teacher with at least a Teacher 2 status of a school/kindergarten providing teaching practice for trainees; the head of the school employing the teacher appraised. 

The rules and criteria of the qualification procedure are public and applicable to all teachers. The qualifying committee examines the complete range of activities of teachers, especially fulfilling the obligations specified by the law and the job description of teachers. The qualification procedure involves examining the portfolio of the teacher, observing teaching and inspection. The portfolio of the teacher contains the CV of the teacher, the documents of teaching, documents of other educational activities, a short description of the institution and an evaluation of his/her career. 

Standardised tests

Secondary school leaving exam

The secondary school leaving exam has been standardised since 2005. In 2005 it became a two-tier exam, based on standardised requirements, which also serves as an entrance examination to higher education institution. It is suitable for collecting information on the effectiveness of teaching and learning at upper secondary schools.

National Assessment of Basic Competences

The National Assessment of Basic Competences, a national, centrally organized testing system for mathematic and reading competencies is designed to test every pupil in every basic school at grades 6, 8 and 10 annually. The assessment is organised by the Educational Authority, which prepares the tests and questionnaires and processes and publishes the results.

The results are published in a publicly available report. Schools get access to more detailed data to be able to analyse their own results and compare their students’ achievement to the achievement of students in other schools.

The assessment is supplemented by a family background index on the socio-cultural background of students. In addition, it is possible to monitor the progress of individual pupils and in this way examine the impact of the school.

Between 2006 and 2012 the National Skills Assessment of 4-grade pupils was organised in basic schools. At present it is not compulsory any more but the tests are published on the website of the Educational Authority and a computer programme is also available for their evaluation.

Diagnostic assessment of development

This diagnostic test assesses a range of basic skills, crucial to school progress, of children aged 4-8. The scope of skills assessed includes speech voice recognition, relational vocabulary, writing motion coordination, basic counting, extrapolation from experience, heuristic understanding of correlation and social skills. The assessment aims at mapping and reducing disadvantages of individual pupils and informing teachers, school heads and maintainers. It also enables teachers to monitor the progress of individual children between the ages of 4 and 8. The assessment package also provides a description of the process of acquiring these skills and guidance on how to develop them more effectively.

Basic schools assess their first grade pupils at the beginning of the school year and identify those who they wish to assess in more details with the diagnostic test. The use of the test is only obligatory if the kindergarten that the child attended reported problems in the child’s development or the class teacher finds it useful to take the test on the basis of his/her personal observations. The diagnostic test is undertaken in a few months after the start of the school year. Teachers evaluate the scores with the use of a computer programme provided with the assessment package and they design the ways of individual development. Schools are expected to provide information about the number of learners tested to the Educational Authority. Many schools undertake to test all first graders.

Foreign language and CLIL assessment

There is an annual foreign language assessment of pupils learning in grades 6 and 8 of bilingual (CLIL) schools and from 2015 on it also includes grade 10 students. It is organised by the Educational Authority. The aim is to obtain data on the effectiveness of language teaching and ensure its quality. If schools wish to continue to offer CLIL, they have to ensure that at least 60% of their pupils achieve level A2 of CEFR in grade 6, level B1 in grade 8 and 50% of pupils reach level B2 in grade 10 (on average over three consecutive years).

An annual foreign language assessment of all pupils learning English or German as a first foreign language (except for pupils in CLIL schools, see above) is introduced in 2015 in grades 6 and 8. The assessment is organised by the Educational Authority and tests the reading comprehension of pupils. The school may supplement the assessment with an oral test if it wishes so.

Thematic evaluations

In addition to regular standardised tests, there have been several evaluations covering specific sub-sectors or topics, e.g. kindergarten curricula, effectiveness of mother tongue teaching, extracurricular art education, Roma nationality education, local pedagogical programmes of VET schools etc.

There have been legality checks in several hundreds of schools in the past few years e.g. in the fields of management practices and the employment of teachers. The reports produced provide useful information on the various types and levels of schools.

International tests

Hungary participates in PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS tests. International tests organised by the OECD or the IEA are administered and the test results analysed by the Educational Authority.