How is educational quality measured? The logical answer leads us to pay attention to the quantitative aspect: the grades, the results of state examinations, standards and surveys, among other tools, which leave tens of elements out.
“When a student takes an exam, the final grade doesn´t consider external aspects such as: anxiety, the nerves, or personal situations that the student might be undergoing”, says Oscar Ceballos, Director of Mittelstufe (Middle School) and a link with the Academic Committee of the Parents´ Council. Thus, an excellent academic process can be overlooked due to a bad result in an exam. “There are more meaningful elements that make the school´s support and formation more evident”, says Juanita Eslava, mother and member of the Academic Committee and current President of the school´s Parents’ Council.
Based on the objectives stated by the school´s development plan, the academic and administrative directors have made great efforts to create and come up with different systems to measure results. “We understand exams to be a diagnosis, so we analyze them in order to know what we have to improve. These results must be interpreted”, says Mr. Ceballos. This revision is constantly made in order to make decisions in areas such as teacher qualification.
"…We find out that our alumni stand out because of their autonomy, critical thinking and their participation in research groups", concludes Mr. Ceballos.
Even though the lists of the best schools, which result from measuring very specific aspects, are important, for the Deutsche Schule Medellín the educational process is also important. Taking into account indicators that are customized to the institutional goals and which determine the school´s quality. “More than in the grade in a German exam, we are interested in knowing how many of our graduate students have access to higher education in Germany”, says the Director of Mittelstufe. Although a good score in the “Pruebas Saber” (State Examination) helps students to enroll at universities in Colombia, there are indicators that are more adjusted to the school´s vision. “It is very important when, by conducting surveys at local universities, we find out that our alumni stand out because of their autonomy, critical thinking and their participation in research groups”, concludes Mr. Ceballos.
The students of the Deutsche Schule Medellín study subjects such as Biology, History and Mathematics in German and thus, it is difficult for state examinations such as “Pruebas Saber” to measure their knowledge in a dependable way, considering the differences when learning in another language. Even more when the German educational model is so different from the Colombian.
“All the results must be interpreted within a context”, says Oscar. Thus, the vision must always be that of forming human beings and, many times, quantitative examinations don´t take that into account. The Deutsche Schule Medellín has developed exams that assess competencies that are relegated to a second place in state examinations, such as: speaking, listening, reading and writing. “Not only are we interested in knowing how our students did the examinations but also in how they feel at school”, says Mrs. Eslava. Other elements that parents value are the international vision, the acquisition of autonomy, teaching in three languages, comprehensive training in values and the development of musical, artistic and sportive talents.
The certification received in the year 2019 as an excellent German School abroad. It´s the most valuable quality indicators that the Deutsche Schule Medellin offers to its students. The BLI (school inspectors of the German government) visited the school for a week, attending different classes to revise the pedagogical development. “It was an assessment of our real objective, which is education”, explains Oscar Ceballos. Receiving this certification by obtaining great results, allows us to ensure an excellent educational process. Besides, it sets a difference from other schools because the BLI measures a comprehensive concept: it focuses on aspects such as teaching quality, administrative processes, leadership, personal development, facilities, and individual support, among other aspects. “The BLI gives parents a wider vision of the school´s educational model.”, concludes Juanita Eslava.