ÉpStan: The Luxembourg School Monitoring Programme

Through the Épreuves Standardisées (ÉpStan), the Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) provides timely and policy-relevant information to national education stakeholders and assembles a unique and incredibly rich longitudinal database.

A challenging landscape for education

Large-scale international assessments (e.g. the OECD’s PISA studies) have shown repeatedly that many education systems in modern societies – Luxembourg being no exception – struggle to handle adequately increasingly diverse student populations. Understanding and learning how to deal effectively with highly heterogeneous groups of learners (i.e. solving the problem of providing equal opportunities for success to all, regardless of an individual’s socioeconomic, sociocultural or linguistic background) can be considered Luxembourg’s biggest education challenge of today.

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion

The ÉpStan was established to use a scientific approach to tackle the aforementioned challenges to education. It is the core business of the LUCET and it aims to produce high-quality data that allow for evidence-based decision- and policy-making in national education.

Unique and ambitious

Through the Luxembourg school monitoring programme, LUCET is not only providing timely and policy-relevant information to national education stakeholders, but is also assembling a unique and incredibly rich longitudinal database – panels are actually entire cohorts – about the evolution of students’ competency profiles and their pathways through school and, possibly, through life.

One distinctive feature of the national monitoring system is the fact that ÉpStan results are fed back across all levels (school, class, student). This allows them to be used for processes such as school development, to boost teachers’ diagnostic competence, and to determine learning and education needs on an individual level.

The ÉpStan assess students’ academic competencies, learning motivation and attitudes to school at the beginning of each learning cycle of compulsory education. These assessments occur at the beginning of grades 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. While the assessments for all elementary schools are paper-based, the ÉpStan for secondary schools are entirely computer‐ and web‐based (using LUCET’s in-house online assessment system OASYS).
Each year, the entire student population in each of the grades in question participates in the ÉpStan. This equates to approximately 28,000 students a year.

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