The UAE National Agenda 2021 has set the priority that the country intends to feature in the top twenty countries in; reading writing and mathematics in two global education indicators by 2021. The KHDA has been mandated to ensure Dubai’s schools, both private and public are on-track to achieve these goals.
By 2021 it’s expected that the UAE will be in the top 20 countries in the “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) test and in the top fifteen countries in the “Trends in Mathematics and Science Studies” (TIMSS) test.
Although Dubai schools have been taking part in these assessments since 2007 and the KHDA has provided training for those that scored below the national average, the 2014/15 inspection report shows a wide range of preparedness for future assessments.
Findings showed that only a small number of schools understood how to work towards improving their scores in these assessments, and that many teachers were unaware of how to teach adequate ‘problem solving’ and ‘enquiry based learning skills’ to improve their students assessment scores.
Results from 2011 and 2012 PISA and TIMSS assessments in Dubai, show schools are still lagging behind both the international average and the National Agenda targets, with public schools scoring significantly below those of the private sector.
The best result achieved to date, were in the 2011 TIMSS grade 8 science assessments, where Dubai’s private schools reached the international average (500points).
However across the board, public schools still lag an average of 29 points behind the international average and private schools come in an average 15 points behind.
To reach the projected National Agenda 2021 scores, (which are an additional 20-30 points higher than the international average score), it would seem that there is still significant work to be done, if the objectives are to be reached in the allocated time-frame.