Schools on leave: Conference Season starts

July 2016 - While most teachers and students in schools in the Netherlands start their well deserved summer holidays, the test experts and international consultants at Cito keep on working. July and August traditionally are ‘Conference months’, during which internationally renowned experts in assessment and educational measurement meet up. Cito experts will participate in two upcoming conferences in Africa, with active input and time for networking.

AEAA in Zimbabwe

From July 25-29 Cito will attend the 34th Conference of the Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA).
Hosted by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council, the theme of the conference is “Promoting holistic development through innovative assessment initiatives". Most sub-Saharan African countries are sending delegations, many of them fairly large.

Cito will be represented by a delegation from the Cito International core team: Frans Kleintjes, Caroline Jongkamp and Nico Dieteren. We will provide some active contributions to the workshop sessions. We are looking forward to meeting our African colleagues and hope to make new contacts in the world of assessment and education.

Programme and presentations

Cito experts have prepared three substantive contributions on very current and important topics.
We are pleased to announce that in two cases we will do this together with experts from African partners.
  • Frans Kleintjes will provide a presentation on Test quality assurance together with experts and staff members of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) of Nigeria.
  • Nico Dieteren will cooperate with Lucy Mkhonta of the Swaziland Examinations Council (ECOS) in presenting some examples of best practice of assessing higher order thinking skills in national examinations.
  • Most African countries face the challenge of transferring their national and large-scale assessments from paper based to computer based. Caroline Jongkamp and Frans Kleintjes will talk to the participants about experiences of this with high stakes examinations in the Netherlands. The topic is an urgent issue for most African assessment boards and policy makers. Related to this, we expect broad interest in our Questify software modules for building integrated systems of computer based assessment

The topic is meeting quite urgent issues for most African assessment boards and policy makers. Related to this presentation we are prepared for a broad interest for our Questify software modules for building integrated systems of computer based assessment

Two worlds?

It will be a great opportunity for the Cito experts to visit Zimbabwe. Like most people planning travel to another country we have been looking up information about Zimbabwe and its people.

I must admit that I was quite shocked when I read that millions of people in the middle and south of Zimbabwe are facing the worst drought even in the history of this relatively young nation. President Mugabe has declared a state of disaster and 2.44 million people are ‘food insecure’. We, on the other hand, will be staying at a conference resort at Victoria Falls in the north of the country and are unlikely to have any problems with our ‘basic needs’ of food and housing.

This feels strange to me: as though there are two different worlds in one country. It is reassuring however to realize that we will be working on the future of good education, including fair and reliable assessments.

We at Cito strongly believe that we can help all people to identify and further develop their potential, all over the world. Let us hope that by organizing this international experts meeting the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council can contribute to developing the standard of living of the people and to opening up the stagnant and relatively isolated economy of Zimbabwe.

Nico Dieteren, senior international consultant Cito