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National literacy assessment: the identification of students ‘at risk’ in Cyprus

Yiasemina Karagiorgi &Alexandra Petridou

Pages 1-13 | Received 01 Nov 2016, Accepted 29 Apr 2017, Published online: 19 May 2017

Abstract

Several national testing processes, involving the administration of standardised tests, are
implemented widely worldwide to provide individual summative and formative assessment and/or
monitor the quality of educational systems. The longitudinal national Programme for Functional
Literacy (PfL) in Cyprus resembles a primarily formative testing process, oriented towards
‘assessment for learning’. Specifically, focus is placed on the identification of students ‘at risk’ of
school failure at two stages of compulsory education -Years 3 and 6- so as to effectively support
them within the educational system. This article presents the basic theoretical, contextual and
methodological underpinnings of the PfL and briefly discusses key findings. The authors mainly argue
about the potential of this formative national research programme to impact educational policy and
practice with regards to the management of school populations ‘at risk’, also drawing on the
challenges involved in such an endeavour.

Keywords: Students at risk, school failure, longitudinal programme, national assessment, educational
policy