More Dutch parents have child tested after 'too low' school advice

Parents who feel that their children received a too low advice on which level to continue secondary school, are increasingly having their children take an intelligence test to pressure primary schools into giving their children a higher advice, RTL Nieuws reports.

For the past three years, the level on which children continue their secondary education is based on the advice of their primary school, instead of the results of their final exams. Parents see intelligence tests as a means to pressure primary schools for higher advice. The national association for study support institutions LVSI, the general education union AOB and the association for public education VOO confirmed this image to RTL Nieuws.

Marion Eggink, psychologist at 2explore, also confirmed that the institution is increasingly conducting intelligence tests on children at their parents' request. "We started offering the NIO test seven years ago. Then I did two a year. Now I have three per week", she said to the broadcaster. "You see a very clear trend that parents are behind it. They don't dare to rely solely on the advice of the school. That is partly due to the many changes of teachers in primary education. Sometimes the school advice indeed deviates from the test results."

Teachers union CNV Onderwijs is vehemently against this development. "Respect the professionalism of teachers", a spokesperson said to RTL. "Their opinions are well-considered and fair. Parents and teachers should not face off against each other. Just start a conversation. Don't grab to these resources." According to the union, this development is in line with the trend of parents being increasingly assertive in interfering in the school advice.

The VOO also considers this development undesirable, but also understands where parents are coming from. "We have to realize that the only way to remove this trend is to ensure that the moment of giving the advice is less of a determining factor for a child." The association expressed concern over the increasing number of kids undergoing intelligence tests. "In this way the playing field for children in primary school does not become more equal." Not all parents can afford intelligence tests. 

A recent study by CNV Onderwijs and EenVandaag revealed that over the past two years 75 percent of primary school teachers faced intimidation from parents who wanted a higher school advice for their kids. Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education is committed to putting an end to the social trend in which vocational education is considered "not good enough". He recently called on parents to stop pushing their kids to get into a university. According to him, this puts unnecessary stress on children and casts vocational education in a negative light, while the demand for people with practical skills is only increasing.