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The analyses of the conditions for introduc ing t he National Secondary School Leaving Exam in Croatia (State Matura) State Matura From the perspective of Higher Education.

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The analyses of the conditions for introducingthe National Secondary School Leaving Exam in Croatia (State Matura)

State Matura

From the perspective of Higher Education


Proponents of the projectMinistry of Education and Sports - Republic of CroatiaMinistry of Science and Technology - Republic of Croatia (Project no: 0100502)Implementation of the projectInstitute of Social Research in Zagreb:Centre for Educational Research and DevelopmentProject Leaderdr. sc. Petar Bezinović

the project aim
Theproject aim
  • The analyses of the conditions for implementing State Matura
  • Development of the proposal for the national approach to the implementation of the State Matura that will meet the developmental needs of Croatian
  • Piloting the proposal – experimental Matura (2004.)
what is state matura
What is State Matura?
  • State Matura is an exam that tests at what level are the goals of secondary education achieved - it determines the level of achieved student competences.
  • It is organized centrally and implemented at the same time for all candidates.
  • State Matura is the Secondary school leaving exam.
  • It could be used instead of the entrance exams forHigher education.
basic premise
Basic premise

Implementation of State Matura and other external exams which will ensure

objective, valid, reliable and fair evaluation of school achievements/ student competences

will provoke important developmental processes which may significantly improve the quality of education in Croatian schools.

the goals of state matura
The goals of State Matura
  • Valid, reliable, objective and fair measurement of school achievement.
  • Defining of national standards  monitoring the achievement of programs and goals of secondary education
  • Ensure that education and knowledge have appropriate value
  • Improving the quality of schools- promoting the quality of teaching and learning.
the goals of state matura cont
The goals of State Matura – cont.
  • Improving the students’ level of motivation for learning and their desire for achievement.
  • Ensuring valid and fair selection of candidates for enrolment into Higher education.
  • Making Croatian High School diploma clear and comparable on the local and European labour markets as well as in European education.
conceptual frame
Conceptual frame

Current situation in Croatia

  • There is no established system for evaluating the quality of education
  • The general level of education of the citizens is low, education and knowledge are undervalued.

Current situation in EU

  • Dynamic changes, technological advancement – greater need for competent experts that are flexible to adapt to the ever changing social and technological conditions and effectively solve the most demanding problems.
  • Open borders, wider markets, great competitiveness
  • Improving the quality of education is the primary development goal of the European Union (Lisbon, 2000)
  • High educational standards as a necessity and a premise for development
conceptual frame cont
Conceptual frame – cont.

Croatian priority tasks

  • Achieve high level quality of education
  • Ensure equality and accessibility of quality education to all

Key issues concerning external assessment

  • What kind of system of external assessment can best promote the quality of education – stimulate quality learning and teaching – and ensure unrestricted development of creative potential of the individuals?
research objectives
Research objectives
  • Establish what is the attitude ofHigher education institutions on introducing State Matura in Croatian education and utilizing these results for enrolment into higher education.
  • Research what competences should the candidates for further education have.
  • Establish the content which should be assessed on State Matura.
  • Establish what is the opinion of Higher education institutions on the readiness of students for further education.


  • 91 questionnaires received from 50 different faculties or other higher education institutions, 37 departments and 4 subdivisions were analysed. The questionnaires were completed by the heads of these units following discussion with their colleagues. 1346 teachers participated in these discussions.


  • The higher education institutions received the questionnaire by e-mail with the introductory letter from the president of the Coordination group for educational system reform in Republic of Croatia.
  • Following the discussion, the completed questionnaires were returned to the Institute of Social Research for analyses.


  • Examines the attitudes on introducing State Matura and utilizing these results insteadof entrance exams, possible content of the Matura exam, necessary competences for higher education, readiness of freshmen for their studies.
Attitudes on introducing SM at the end of secondary educationregardless to the selection procedures for entrance into Higher education



main arguments for introducing sm
Main arguments for introducing SM
  • Unique assessment criteria
  • Valid, objective and fair measurement of knowledge that will ensure realistic insight into the quality of achieved knowledge
  • Simplified entrance into Higher education (no entrance exams), unburden the universities
  • Improved evaluation of schools and teachers
  • Improvement of the quality of education
  • Improvement of preparation for higher education/better students
Attitudes on introducing SM at the end of secondary education instead of existing entrance exams for Higher education



arguments for using sm instead of existent entrance exams
Arguments FOR using SM instead of existent entrance exams
  • Greater objectivity, fairness and validity
  • Assessment of school achievement based on standardised criteria
  • Less stressful for students
  • Simplified procedures, easier rating of the students who satisfy the criteria.
  • Unburdening of the universities
  • Transparent, no issues with the regularity of entrance exams
  • ! Elimination of entrance exams is possible only if the SM assesses the relevant content !
  • Cheaper, faster
arguments against the use of sm results instead of existent entrance exams
Arguments AGAINST the use of SM results instead of existent entrance exams
  • It is impossible for a unique SM to include the specifics of each study group and assess the contents for each faculty,
  • It can not assess specific talents and motivation
  • Faculties should have full autonomy, must have full control of the assessed contents, must establish the criteria for the selection of their students by themselves.
  • Possibilities for manipulation, doubt in the correct implementation of SM.
Attitudes on the utilization of SM results instead of the existing entrance exams(mean scores according to the type of institution)
content of entrance exam for 2003 04
Content of entrance exam for 2003/04
  • Economics,management, tourism
  • Mathematics and physics
  • Teacher maths, physics, computer studies, chemistry, geology, technical
  • Electro-technical / technical
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Architectures, civil engineering
  • Geology, mining, geological
  • Forestry, agronomics
  • Chemical engineering
  • Pharmacology-biochemistry
  • Food Technology and Biotechnology
  • Textile technology
  • Faculty of Transport
  • Maritime studies
  • Faculty of Metallurgy
  • Faculty of Graphics
  • Teachers colleges


  • Economics,management, tourism
  • Law
  • Teacher colleges
  • Croatian language and literature
  • Faculty of philosophy Zagreb
  • Logaoedics
  • Political sciences, journalism
  • Catholic theology faculty
  • Some foreign language
  • History
  • Social sciences collage
  • Academy of dramatic arts
  • Police academy
content of entrance exam for 2003 04 cont
Content of entrance exam for 2003/04 – cont.


  • Foreign languages
  • Teachers college
  • Management, business, tourism
  • Maritime studies
  • Faculty of transport – aeronautics
  • Academy of dramatic arts
  • Educational-rehabilitation faculty
  • ICT
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Teacher maths computer studies
  • Information Technology
Readiness of freshmen for studyinglight – secondaryschool estimatesdark – Higher education institutions estimates

Readiness of students for higher educationSources of satisfaction

  • High motivation for studies
  • Individual knowledge and readiness
  • Good general education, quality of students from some schools (gymnasiums)
  • Readiness to acquire new knowledge
  • Openness and good communication skills
  • Willingness for independent and creative study

Readiness of students for higher educationSources of dissatisfaction

  • Inadequate level of knowledge in the subjects important for the field of study
  • General lack of knowledge, lack of general knowledge
  • Unequal readiness of students from different schools, unequal prior knowledge
  • Lack of motivation for studies, lack of curiosity, interest, lack of motivation forhigh academic achievements
  • Undeveloped work habits, not knowing how to learn, undeveloped learning strategies
  • Not independent in studying
  • Negative attitude towards learning, unsystematic, bad time management
  • Illiteracy, low level of oral and written expression, low language competence
  • Acquiring knowledge by mechanical memorizing, reproductive attitude to knowledge
  • Insufficient application of knowledge, little practical knowledge and skills
  • Low level of responsibility and maturity
  • Insufficient creativity
  • Insufficiently active, do not discuss, passive listeners
  • Do not know how to use reading resources
important competencies for higher education
Important competencies for higher education
  • Key knowledge in the subjects important for the field of study
  • Motivation for studying
  • Good communication skills in Croatian , literacy
  • Knowledge of foreign language
  • Creativeness in problem solving
  • Computer literacy
  • Good work ethics and learning skills
  • Practical application of knowledge
  • Curiosity
  • Diligence, persistence
  • Ability to use higher cognitive processes, intellectual abilities
  • Inclination for research
  • Good general education (for social sciences, polytechnics)
  • Ethics (for medical, teacher)
  • Talent for art (for artistic, teacher)
recommendation for introduction of sm
Recommendation for introduction of SM
  • Passing of the State Matura exam is a condition for further education at the Higher Education Institution in the Republic of Croatia
  • The results of the State Matura may be used in place of entrance exam for Higher Education Institution
  • The faculties/polytechnics that use the SM results in place of entrance exams determine the content that is relevant for them, the candidate selection
determining the candidate rank for entrance
Determining the candidate rank for entrance
  • Rank of candidates for entrance into Higher education Institutions is determined by a unique list for all the Universities at the National Exam Centre which implements the State Matura
  • Except for the results received on SM the candidate rank is also determined in high proportion by the grade average received throughout secondary education
  • The candidate rank is determined for all higher education institutions according to the candidate registration, according to the results received at SM and grade average for secondary education
quality of exam materials
Quality of exam materials
  • The exam materials are based on the existing curriculum, but contain only the content important for further education and are the bases of lifelong learning
  • The test used on the SM must be such that they test the candidates ability to solve complex problems and not to reproduce the memorized facts
  • The exam results must be standardized and unique for all school regardless of the schools course