Thousands of kids given wrong secondary school advice after final exam

Teen girl with her school bag
Teen girl with her school bagPhoto: ArturVerkhovetskiy/DepositPhotos

11 percent of all group 8 pupils in the Netherlands received the wrong secondary school advice after their final exams. A calculation error resulted in the final exam advice being too high, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.

Dutch kids in group 8 get advised on what level of secondary education to follow. This advice is largely based on a school advice drawn up by their teachers based on their performance throughout primary school.  But this advice can be adjusted if the pupils' results on their final tests differ greatly from the school advice.

The error affected some pupils who wrote the IEP Final Test, Route 8, Slinde Final est or AMN Final Test. These pupils were graded at a different level than would suit them based on the test result. In most of the cases, this group of pupils received a too high test advice. The test advice for these pupils will have to be recalculated, the Ministry said. The pupils do not have to retake the test - the cause of the problem is not with the tests itself, but with the calculations of the level of secondary education advised for the pupils based on the results. 

According to a letter the Ministry sent to secondary schools that is in the hands of newspaper AD, this mistake affects some 20 thousand pupils - thousands of whom's school advice were adjusted based on the final exam advice. 18,288 pupils received a too high test advice, and 1,566 received a too low advice. 

"This is an extremely unpleasant situation, in the first instance of course especially for the group 8 pupils affected and their parents, but also for all teachers and schools involved", Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education said. "Both the primary schools that prepare the school advice and may now have to reconsider a second time, as well as the secondary schools that may have to place pupils differently."

The test providers are in close contact with the primary schools to provide them with the correct information per pupil as quickly as possible. Affected parents and pupils will be informed by their primary school about what this means for them as soon as possible.

"Everyone involved realizes that this leads to uncertainty for many parents, pupils, teachers and schools in both primary and secondary education. All parties involved regret the situation and make every effort to provide clarity as quickly as possible", Slob said.