1.3 million eighth graders take first session of standardized exams

Approximately 1.3 million eighth graders across Turkey took the first session of the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam for the spring semester, part of primary school students’ transition to high school, on Monday.

The eighth grade students took the three-hour exam, which has been organized by the Ministry of Education as part of a new high school admissions system that was adopted at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, replacing the previous Level Determination Examination (SBS) system. According to the TEOG system, eighth graders take 12 exams on six subjects during the academic year. Students take six tests in the autumn semester and the second half of the full complement of exams in the spring semester.

The first session of the spring TEOG exams started at 9 a.m. in 91,000 classrooms in 15,814 schools across the country. Police stood on duty outside schools to ensure that students did not enter the test areas with cellphones.

The Turkish, mathematics, and religious culture and morality exams were taken during the first session on Monday. On Tuesday the same students will answer 60 questions on three other subjects: science and technology, revolutionary history and Kemalism, and foreign languages during the second session. Schools were closed for fifth, sixth and seventh graders on Monday, and they will also be closed on Tuesday.

Speaking with Today’s Zaman after taking the tests, some students said the math test had challenging questions while the Turkish test was relatively easier than other tests. The students taking the exams at the Fatih Capa Ataturk Middle School in İstanbul told Today’s Zaman that there were no questions asked outside the school curriculum in the exams, adding that the standardized exams were very similar to those conducted by subject teachers in school.

Gorkem Dogan said the Turkish test was very easy compared to the Turkish test they took in the first session of the TEOG exam for the autumn semester in January. Dogan said they prepared for the exams at a dershane – a private exam preparatory school.

Another exam taker, Sumeyye Cevahiroglu, said the standardized exams she took on Monday were easier than the exams she took at school, adding that she never experienced any difficulty while answering the questions as the tests were not so challenging.

Cagla Ebruselen said the questions asked in the math test were more difficult than those in exams at her school.

The SBS — a standardized test that students were required to take before entering high school — was held for the last time on June 8, 2013. A new method of transitioning students to high school was introduced during the first semester of this academic year. The current high school transition system consists of six centrally administered exams. Students will be placed in high schools according to the average scores they received in the TEOG exams in January and their results for the exams on April 28 and 29.