Oleg Smolin: the Unified State Exam is now a matter of politics, not education
The head of the Ministry of Education Sergei Kravtsov said that the ministry is ready to consider alternative USE mechanisms for assessing the knowledge of schoolchildren, but they must be objective and independent. At the same time, he noted that so far there are no alternatives to the Unified State Exam and such issues have not been considered in the department. That is, in fact, they are ready to consider, but they will not, because the return of the classic exams, which have long proven their effectiveness, is already a matter of politics, not education, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma committee on education and science is sure of this. Oleg Smolin… He shared his expert opinion with On the eve.RU:
– First, with regard to independence. Let me remind you that in higher educational institutions, in order to ensure the independence of assessment, they invite teachers from other universities. The same situation is possible with respect to the final exams at school. I do not see any problems with independent assessment of exam results.
Secondly, as for objectivity, I would like to remind you that the objectivity of the USE assignments themselves, at least in humanitarian subjects, raises serious doubts. The fact is that having got rid of the subjectivism of an individual teacher, the authors of the Unified State Exam put into it the subjectivity of those who make up standardized tasks.
More than once I saw assignments on the Unified State Exam on humanitarian subjects, in which the correct answers are considered incorrect, from my point of view as a Doctor of Philosophy and Academician of the Russian Academy of Education. That is, the USE imposes certain ideas on children in the humanities.
Again, objectivity in the exam in this case could be achieved with the presence of independent experts and the fact that their expert opinions could develop, as is the case, for example, in the figure skating system or in rhythmic gymnastics.
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Since 2001, we have been proposing to introduce the right of choice for a graduate and an applicant (I emphasize – both a graduate and an applicant) between the classical exam and the standardized exam. The Unified State Exam is a standardized exam, and in this sense, it forms, I would say, standardized views and a standardized personality. While the classic exam, having some disadvantages, allows you to show a more creative approach, the ability to think independently in relation to a graduate or applicant.
The version when it was possible to take the classical exam, but it was possible to take the exam, existed from 2002 to 2009. We propose to give children the right to choose, thus changing the ideology of the exam so that the exam is not a place where students are almost accompanied to the toilet with cameras, but a place where they, through choice, can show the best of what they have learned.
But the USE question has long turned into a purely political one. The fact is that now even representatives of United Russia, like Pyotr Tolstoy, are beginning to criticize the Unified State Exam. Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichy has never been a fan of the Unified State Exam. And your humble servant has always believed that with some advantages from the exam, there is more harm than good. I think that it will be difficult for the political elite to admit that by introducing the Unified State Exam in such a rigid format, a mistake was made. Although it must be admitted that, in comparison with the first option, the USE is now improved, at least test-like tasks with a choice of answers like “Who invented the Pythagorean theorem?” and introduced elements of an oral examination in a foreign language. The USE has changed a little for the better, but its main drawback – the standardization of tasks and an attempt to standardize thinking – remains.