“The main purpose of my visit to Baku is to discuss the issues and get acquainted with preparatory works regarding the IAEA 2019 conference entitled “Assessment and Decision-Making: Individual and Institutional Solutions” to be held by the Azerbaijan State Examination Center (SEC) in Baku from 22 to 27 September,” educational assessment expert and member of the board of trustees of International Association of Educational Assessment (IAEA) Jan Wiegers told AZERTAC.

“I have met with the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the State Examination Center (SEC) Maleyka Abbaszade and the IAEA 2019 conference organization team in connection with the conference. We discussed the preparatory works for the conference and activities to be carried out in this regard. I also visited “Fairmont Baku” hotel where the conference will take place. Up to now, everything was organized at a high level,” added Jan Wiegers.

AZERTAC presents an interview with educational assessment expert and member of the IAEA board of trustees Jan Wiegers.

– Could you please provide more detailed information about IAEA? How important is it for Azerbaijan to be a member of this organization?

– The IAEA was established in 1974. IAEA is a global forum created for organizations participating in the assessment of education in higher and secondary education facilities, as well as workplaces. All the entities involved in the organization of exams, university faculties, research-based institutions, including state organizations from more than 50 countries are members of the Association. The IAEA has over 40 members, including more than 90 institutional and individual researchers.

The experience achieved by the IAEA member organization helps further improve the quality of education in that country

The key purpose of the IAEA is to provide assistance to educational facilities to improve the general quality of education in advancing education assessment techniques and their appropriate application. The best way to reach it is the international partnership and that is why IAEA tries to develop close ties between corresponding organizations and individuals.

I would like to note that the IAEA also has consultative status in UNESCO for achieving the shared goals. The association has been a corresponding member of the Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia Pacific (NEQMAP) since 2016. The IAEA also maintains close ties with associations for educational assessment in Africa and Europe.

The association holds a conference in one of its member states once a year. Such conferences were organized in Singapore, the USA, South Africa, Georgia, and the UK. I would like to remind that previous State Student Admission Commission (now the State Examination Center) was the organizer of the IAEA 33rd International Conference titled “Interaction of National Assessment Systems and Educational Standards” on September-21, 2007. The SEC was elected a member of the Executive Board of the IAEA in 2008.

The exchange of information among participants (members and non-members) and the training for the development of assessment techniques on the sidelines of the conferences are of pivotal importance for reaching the IAEA goals.

On the importance of being a member of the association, I can say that organizations become its members in order to be included in the communication platform of the IAEA. This communication platform, including annual conferences, scientific publications, and website of the association contribute to strengthening the ties among its members. The countries are also taking advantage of experiences and opportunities achieved by each IAEA member organizations. This experience is shared at schools and higher education institutions and it helps further improve the quality of education in the country. We have to take into account that employees of education ministries from various countries also take part in IAEA’s annual conferences. Here they learn the impact of the assessment techniques on to the process of education.

There are no unexamined issues left for the preparations of the conference

– How will the “IAEA 2019” conference to be organized in Baku contribute to the assessment of education in Azerbaijan?

– I have a very positive opinion on this conference. We have high expectations of the IAEA 2019 conference to be held by the Azerbaijan State Examination Center. I have no doubt that the conference in Baku will be a successful one. The quality of the conference is based on two things – the quality of the host to organize everything and the quality of the content that is given by the presenters and by all the members. The conference also provides an ample opportunity for the professionals in Azerbaijan to take part in such an internationally recognized event. As an IAEA, we have set a smaller amount of fees for local organizations to attend the conference, so they can also have the opportunity to participate.

– How do you evaluate the preparation of the State Examination Center for the conference?

– As you know, this conference will be held in Azerbaijan for the second time. As part of my visit, I will make a report to the IAEA Board in three weeks summarizing my observations here. I’m convinced that preparation for the conference is at a high level. We have met with the head of the organizing committee and held discussions with him. There are no unexamined issues left for the preparations of the conference and no incomplete works up to the present stage. The IAEA’s conference held in Baku in 2007 was also excellently organized.

– By the way, what differences did you see in terms of development in Baku and what are your impressions about our country?

– I arrived in Baku on January 31 and I will be here until February 2. I was deeply impressed by the modern airport and road infrastructure, as well as the places I have been to, the Fairmont Baku hotel, which I am closely acquainted with, the beauty of the city.

IAEA 2019″ will show individual and institutional solutions for assessment and decision-making

The IAEA’s Baku conference entitled “IAEA 2019” on “Assessment and Decision-Making: Individual and Institutional Solutions” will feature the issues on use of assessment (student admission, recruitment, etc.) in decision-making, reliability and validity of assessments in decision-making, as well as the issues regarding the opportunities and challenges in admission testing and recruitment policies of public and private sector.

The conference will also focus on creating value-added measures for better predictions, the future of assessment instruments in university admissions and civil service selection, assessment as an innovation tool in the education system and good governance, assessment data and decision making responsibility, e-assessments and technology-advanced platforms, and operational research themes in educational and workforce assessments.