The beginning-of-the-school-year speech

Obviously, I am kidding. Three years ago, at this time, a handful of people decided to formalise a path we had walked on before. At that point, we had come to the conclusion that the school was not synonymous with education and, besides obligations, we also had rights regarding the education of our own children.

We thought that a school that presented over 40 per cent functionally illiteracy rate should not be compulsory. We thought that we, as parents, had the constitutional right to choose the appropriate form of education for our children. We then embarked on a journey without having a “know-how”, but supported by the only accreditation agency of international schools and located in the UK. For them, too, it was (and still is) a new experience. We all escaped the material and legal walls and took on new and tempestuous adventures.

Our wall less school was coordinated and inspected just like a standard one.

What we have called non-formal evaluations are those dialogues/interviews that take place in all international schools between children/parents and the inspector several times a year. Inspector/teacher Mark Evans probed the quality of the educational process by surveying  a representative sample of children and parents. Moreover, through these non-formal assessments, the children and their parents were able to relax. They understood the “atmosphere” of the whole process and gained enough confidence to go on an unbeaten path. Some children cannot wait for the interviews (which are set up 3 times per year – at the beginning of the school year, in February, and at the end of the school year).

For those who wished, formal assessments were set up – the standard tests in English, math and science. Based on those tests, children received assessment reports of several pages, as a kind of “diagnosis” of their learning level. These reports are not “transcripts” but rather descriptions of the cognitive characteristics of  the children who took the tests, acknowledgements of intelligent approaches to problems, suggestions for solving and completing any “shortcomings”.

However, one of our goals is to reduce the number of these formal assessments, with grades and scores, and estimate a person’s ability and talent by what he knows how to do.

We support learning through projects and communication.

In our wildest dreams, children come to present full-fledged projects and  describe them in details. At any prestigious institution, either company or university, a young person with a representative portfolio, with good cognitive, communication and adaptive skills is preferred to an individual who passed 100 exams with a maximum score.

At the moment, the usual path for a British international school is through the Cambridge exams on various disciplines. As I explained before, admission to any university in the world is guaranteed by at least three A-levels tests (usually specified by the faculty you want to attend). register) or the SAT. In Romania, two A-levels or the SAT test are equivalent to the baccalaureate; the file is submitted to the faculty, the faculty sends the file to CNRED, and CNRED certify the equivalency. 

For the time being, Romanian faculties do not indicate a specific type of entrance exam. They can be any two A-levels tests. Nobody asks you for the transcripts. The grades received during the school years are just numbers that often do not reflect the child’s abilities, a fact acknowledged by many within educational systems. Assessment reports, on the other hand, help in tracking the children’s progress.

This year we have received lots of applications from families who are going to return to the system. We did not refuse them, as the safety of  the children and families is fundamental. One of the decisions recently made in our discussions with the accreditation agency was to issue annual Certificates of Completion and assessment reports. They will be filled after standard testing, done by Filbrit, or an evaluation of the child’s portfolio, done by Cerehard.

We know that many of you have long been waiting for these “papers”, but deciding on their format took us time. Upon returning to the system, the children will present these assessment reports (NOT transcripts) and  give the so-called “differences”, the tests corresponding to disciplines in the Romanian curriculum.

If Romania met the EQF (European Qualification Framework) standards, something that is pending for about 10 years, there would be no more “differences” and equivalency exams.

I remind you why Filbrit does the assessments: they have the necessary staff and time. In the following years, we are going to train our trainers as evaluators within the British system.

I return to the key question of “now what?” which parents frequently ask themselves after enrolling in Cerehard. 

The first answer is to “relax and enjoy this time that has been given to you as a gift”. Then, consult the options of public courses, test Khan Academy, IXL, edX, Coursera and other educational platforms and online courses. In brief, step off the beaten path!

Look around for other Cerehard members and together do things that would otherwise have been impossible to even think of. Treat your children the way you wanted to be treated by your parents. Restore the family ties, play and learn with your children. You will discover that they know much more than you do.

Good luck in the new school year!


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