Unintended consequences of forced policy-making in high stakes examinations: The case of the Republic of Cyprus
SourceAssessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice
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This article describes briefly the education system of Cyprus and elaborates on the recent changes in its large-scale assessment (LSA) programme. Until 2005, two independent LSA programmes existed: one for school-graduation purposes and one for gaining entrance to higher education. The introduction of a dual-purpose LSA program in 2006, due to unexpected external political and legal events, had unintended consequences, thus making Cyprus an instructive modern case-study. The article follows three threads based on the same story. The first thread stresses the problems that emerged because the same LSA programme is used for graduation (mostly criterion-referenced) and selection (purely norm-referenced) purposes. The second thread discusses the problems arising from the lack of comparability between examination subjects. The third thread stresses the vulnerability of the system, because Cyprus partly depends on other countries to offer access to higher education to its citizens. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.