Volume 19, Issue 2 (2012)                   IQBQ 2012, 19(2): 97-121 | Back to browse issues page

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Reforms in High-Stake University Entrance Examinations in Iran: A Critical ‘Base-line’ Study. IQBQ. 19 (2) :97-121
URL: http://eijh.modares.ac.ir/article-27-3407-en.html
Abstract:   (2213 Views)
A rich research base suggests that high-stakes tests reforms serve as vehicles for promoting quality of learning, standards of teaching, and credible forms of accountability. Iran’s last decade policies to reform its University Entrance Examinations (UEEs) heralded such a case. What sparked off this reform was the long-lasting pernicious impact of the UEEs on curriculum, instruction, learning, and on societal values and access to the upward social mobility. However, attempts to introduce intended changes are often not as effective as their planners hoped. A scrutiny of change ‘antecedent conditions’ as well as its initial ‘process of diffusion’ i.e., a ‘baseline study’ will ameliorate such a failure (Weir & Roberts, 1994, Fekete et al, 1999). Assessing the feasibility of the UEEs reform through such a ‘baseline study’ is a gap in Iran’s reform initiatives. As such, the authors applied Henrichsen’s (1989) Hybrid Diffusion Model (HDM), underscoring an awareness of and a need for evaluation of any changed program from a multiplex of factors, as its theoretical framework to critically evaluate the reformed program. The paper thus first presents the policy deliberations and steering National Documents that pushed through an assessment-led reform in Iran’s education. Then it sketches a detailed discussion of the contextual policies and practices of the long-lasting UEEs program, its alternative and associated stakes. While the results highlight key political dynamics which drove national policymaking, they are suggestive of the challenges, controversies, and risks that thwart the success rate of ideals intended by the underpinning policies. 
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Received: 2011/10/4 | Accepted: 2012/04/14 | Published: 2013/01/17

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