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Dutch daily: Young children will no longer be tested at schools

Reception class children in the Netherlands will soon no longer be tested, a Dutch daily reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.

Published: July 7, 2018, 12:13 pm

    The Hague

    The Telegraaf claimed that the Dutch government will soon definitively rule out formal testing for four to six year olds, largely because it has been a “challenge” to get them to read the test material.

    Many primary schools currently believe they are legally required to test their earliest years classes to comply with the norms around monitoring child progress.

    But this testing – sometimes with official Cito exams – has caused controversy, especially due to the difficult process of testing reading and numeracy skills in subjects who cannot read the papers.

    Coalition parties the VVD, CDA, D66 and CU have said they want to get rid of such tests in the coalition agreement and cabinet is expected to make an announcement soon.

    A striking counterargument during the debate earlier has come from PVV MP Harm Beertema. He was in favor of a binding final test and suspected that in the absence of it, teachers would give the wrong feedback.

    Beertema referred to research into Amsterdam education.

    He concluded that teachers in Amsterdam in the nineties often gave exaggeratedly positive feedback to children of highly educated parents – and remarkably enough to immigrant children.

    This year, Dutch mainstream media reported that Noah was the most popular baby name for boys in 2017 counting 635, but after a journalist from broadcaster Powned looked into the database, and checked for Mohammed and its alternative spellings, he found it to be false.

    He counted: Mohammed 221, Mohamed 211, Muhammed 110, Mohammad 51, Muhammad 43 and reached a total of 636. Other forms like Mohamad, Muhamed, Muhammet, Mouhamed, Muhamad and Mahamuud could not be checked for “privacy reasons”.

    It is the second year in a row that Mohammed tops the most popular name for baby boys: In 2016 there were 724 baby’s named Mohammed, suggesting that a large percentage of pre-schoolers now come from immigrant homes.

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