Differentiation of Pupils and the Success of Education System
Twice, in 2006 and in 2009, the Estonian education system has been assessed according to the comparative evaluation of the school pupils’ scholastic performance PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), coordinated by the Organisation of Economic Coopera-tion and Development (OECD).
In general, the Estonian educational system is considered successful by PISA study reports, because the pupils’ achievements are above the OECD average and the effect of their social-economic background on their educational achievement is lower than the average of the OECD states. Without doubt, the principle of comprehensive school applied in Estonia and also the relatively large autonomy of schools have contributed to these important results. Now it is time to first of all increase the resources invested in education or to redistribute the existing resources more purposefully. At the same time, the schools should be guaranteed the right to make decisions regarding their curriculum and grading also in the future, while restricting the competition for pupils between schools. It is important that no changes were made in the Estonian education system that would weaken the existing effect of equal opportunities. Admission tests for pupils entering the first class, early specialisation or an extensive choice of schools could be examples of that.