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Comparability of Integrated educational programme with internationally recognized educational programmes. Zhanar Abdildina, Cristina Rimini October 201 4. The changing world context.

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  • Comparability of Integrated educational programme with internationally recognized educational programmes

  • Zhanar Abdildina, Cristina Rimini


The changing world context
The changing world context

“The world is rapidly becoming a different place, with globalisation and modernisation imposing huge challenges to individuals and societies. Schools need to prepare students to live and work in a world in which most people will need to collaborate with people of diverse cultural origins, and appreciate different ideas, perspectives and values; a world in which people need to decide how to trust and collaborate across such differences, often bridging space and time through technology; and a world in which their lives will be affected by issues that transcend national boundaries.”

Andreas SchleicherOECD (2014)

International surveys
International surveys


  • Information about international performances can facilitate dissemination of ideas on which features of education systems lead to the best performances

  • Can be used to help drive up education standards everywhere

Changing education paradigm adapted from david hargreaves 2006
Changing education paradigm[adapted from David Hargreaves (2006)]

Topicality/actuality of renewing the content of education

‘Only knowledge and education give a person strength and can be a great tool in the fight for education and people’s welfare, only education can lead Kazakh people to the path of freedom and moral perfection’


‘Education is valuable only when it impacts positively on pupils’


Topicality/actuality of renewing the content of


When analyzing education content in the early XX century, prominent Kazakh educator Zh.Aymauytov at that time has already noted the drawbacks of the old curriculum:

A) It obstructed child’s mind with various unnecessary and useless knowledge;

B) The school did not teach modern life, daily matters, and politics. It didn’t teach children of the things they saw every day and what was of interest to them. Instead, it forced them to memorize the past, history, and distant countries and places, setting apart with the modern times. 

B) It accustomed learners to be indecisive and coward, preventing them from independent search for knowledge and creativeness.  

D) Subjects were not related to each other, they differed in writing, and something even contradicted to each other.

Renewing education practices
Renewing education practices

“I am convinced that the prosperous future of our homeland lies among developed countries. Achieving this ambition will unite the people of Kazakhstan forever. Today, I want to present our plan for joining the 30 most developed countries of the world…

all developed countries have a unique high-quality education system. We have a great deal of work to do to improve the quality of all parts of national education. High school graduates should speak Kazakh, Russian and English. The result of teaching should be mastery of critical thinking skills, independent research and in-depth analysis of information.”


Way forward
Way forward

  • Not policy borrowing but integrating the national and international best practice

  • Outcome oriented on needs of future generation of young people

  • Meeting international standards for meeting the challenges and opportunities of globalisation and modernisation

Conceptual approaches for nis curriculum
Conceptual approaches for NIS curriculum

Constructivist approach to learning:

  • learners develop understanding of new knowledge and concepts as they interact with prior knowledge

  • leads to deep learning which supports the application of knowledge, critical thinking and reflection

  • leads to greater progress in learning compared with ‘traditional’ knowledge transmission approaches (Hattie 2011)

Spiral curriculum
Spiral curriculum

“We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development…” (Bruner, 1960:33)

“A curriculum as it develops should revisit these basic ideas repeatedly, building upon them until the student has grasped the full formal apparatus that goes with them.” (ibid:13)

Spiral curriculum1
Spiral curriculum

Key features

  • Learner revisits a topic, theme or subject several times throughout their school career

  • Complexity of the topic or theme increases with each revisit

  • New learning has a relationship with old learning and is put in context with the old information


  • Information reinforced and solidified each time it is revisited

  • Allows logical progression from simpler to more complicated ideas

  • Learners encouraged to apply the early knowledge to later learning objectives

Active approach
Active approach

The functions of active approach:

  • teach students to acquire knowledge (learn to learn)

  • teach students to work and earn money (learning to do)

  • teach students to live (learning to be)

  • teach students to live together (learning to living together)

    Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century LEARNING: THE TREASURE WITHIN, chaired by Jacques Delors

Balancing content
Balancing content

‘…Curricular materials in high-performing nations focus on fewer topics, but also communicate the expectation that those topics will be taught in a deeper, more profound way...’ (Schmidt W & Prawat R 2006)

Curriculum is not overloaded with excessive detalisation and abstract teoretisation.

Parity of knowledge and skills
Parity of knowledge and skills

  • Not just ‘knowing that…’ but ‘knowing how…’ and ‘being able to…’

  • Learners able to draw on resources to deal with new problems and different contexts

  • Developing skills and using skills to improve learning


Skills in curricula internationally
Skills in curricula internationally

Skills set alongside subject areas of learning

Skills in the nis curriculum
Skills in the NIS curriculum

  • Critical thinking

  • Ability to creatively apply knowledge

  • Ability to solve problems and make decisions

  • Research skills

  • Communication skills

  • Ability to work in groups and individually

  • ICT skills

Curriculum coherence
Curriculum coherence

  • ‘Curriculum coherence’:

    “a system is regarded as ‘coherent’ when the national curriculum content, textbooks, teaching content, pedagogy, assessment and drivers and incentives all are aligned and reinforce one another” Oates (2014)

  • ‘Curriculum coherence’ as a fundamental policy aim

  • All elements in a system should ‘line up’

  • Content of curriculum frameworks, textbooks etc. should be arranged into an evidence-based age-related hierarchy

External summative assessment
External summative assessment

Assessment of knowledge

Assessment of application

Analysisand synthesis assess

International comparability
International comparability

  • Curriculum development process

    • Informing approach

    • Informing content

  • Assessment development process

    • Ensuring standards

    • Aiming for equivalency

Comparability study methodology
Comparability study methodology


  • Mapping of learning objectives to identify areas of commonality and differences

  • Questionnaire focusing on overall aims and content of programme of study


  • Cognitive demands of the question papers analysed, based on tool developed by Cambridge Assessment Research Division

Comparability study conclusion
Comparability study conclusion

“The main conclusion is that, although there are many differences of emphasis in the construction of the two, the academic level of both programmes is comparable…

it is clear that learners completing either course will achieve an equivalent level of skill and understanding.”

(Report on comparability of NIS G11 and 12 examinations for 2013)

Feedback from nis students
Feedback from NIS students

“The new curriculum enables to use the knowledge on practice”


“Language is a tool of communication, getting new useful information and broadening my mind, that is why when I study a new language and improve my language skills, I develop my individuality/character because I can find out something new through one of the three languages”


“The programme enables to study independently”


“This curriculum allows learners to look for the information on constant basis, which makes you deepen the knowledge you get and cover every topic fully”


”When studying through the traditional programme we used to learn the rules by heart, whereas the Integrated Educational Programme helps us to learn everything on practice”


”We have the possibility to choose the subjects in High School”


“I have developed a strong ‘immunity’ to different changes and innovations”

Feedback from nis teachers
Feedback from NIS teachers

“This program enables learners to develop their independent learning skills and analytical skills, to defend their perspectives, to work in a team, to apply their knowledge in life and to develop their language and communication skills“


”It makes the learners broaden their mind and think critically”


“It allows teachers to use their creativity

In lesson planning”


Аймауытов Ж. «Методы комплексной системы преподавания», 1929

Report on the comparability of NIS high school programmes and Cambridge International A levels

Report on the comparability of NIS G11 and G12 exams, 2013

Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century LEARNING: THE TREASURE WITHIN, chaired by Jacques Delors

Bruner, J. (1960) The process of education. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Claxton, G. (1990) Teaching to learn: a direction for teaching. London: Cassell Education.

Gipps, C. (1994) Beyond Testing: Towards a Theory of Educational Assessment. London: Falmer Press.

Griffin, P. Blinkley M. Erstad, O. Herman, J Raizen, S. et al. (2012). Assessment and teaching of twenty-first century skills. Springer science and business media.

Hattie, J. (2011) Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge.

James, M. (2007) in Improving Learning How to Learn. Classroom, schools and networks. Improving learning series. Abingdon: Routledge.

Milovanovitch, M. (2014) Reviews of National Policies for Education: Secondary Education in Kazakhstan. OECD

Oates, T. (2010) Could do better: Using international comparisons to refine the national curriculum in England. Cambridge: Cambridge Assessment

Schleicher, A. (Ed.) (2012) Retrieved from

Schmidt W & Prawat R 2006 Curriculum coherence and national control of education: issue or non-issue? Journal of Curriculum Studies vol38 no6 pp641-658