The Board of Tests and Examinations (College voor Toetsen en Examens, or CvTE) is mandated by the government of the Netherlands to ensure the quality and proper administration of national tests and examinations. At the moment, the CvTE is responsible for national exams in general secondary education and adult education, exams for students of Dutch as a second language, secondary-level state exams held outside of schools and exams in secondary vocational education. Furthermore, the CvTE is also accountable for a final test in primary education.
The CvTE recognizes the need for reliable final assessment of students' and pupils’ achievement in a range of educational programmes, established according to the points of view of the government and society in general. Safeguarding consistent adherence to the required level of achievement is crucial, as only this will ensure the public's trust that each diploma issued represents a standard level of quality in nationally administered exams. To this end, the priority and mission of the CvTE encompass the development of a quality assurance system as well as a transparent system by which to guarantee the level of the tests and exams it administers.
The CvTE cooperates with a number of partners in allied organisations. The most important of these are:
- the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), which sets exam programmes and policies;
- SLO, (Institute for Curriculum Development) the centre for expertise in educational materials, which develops syllabuses of exam programmes;
- Cito, the institute for test development that drafts tests and exams;
- DUO, the organization that prints and distributes exams for secondary education, organises state exams for Dutch as a second language and secondary school subjects and manages Facet, the digital test- and examsystem;
- the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, which establishes exam procedures and ensures that exams are properly organized and carried out.
The CvTE’s main tasks include;
- establishing an inventory of test and exam subjects;
- specifying the test and exam programmes and setting these out in syllabuses;
- establishing norms for test and exam results;
- and in state-administered exams, organising exams and issuing diplomas.
In all of these, the CvTE works closely and effectively with people in the field of education.
For example, for each subject for which a national exam is set, it appoints a committee of expertise consisting of a highly experienced chair and a number of experienced teachers currently teaching that subject in exam-level classes. For the final test in primary education a committee with experts evaluate the test assignments constructed by Cito to ensure the quality of the test.
It is because of these collaborations that the CvTE enables hundreds of thousands of students and pupils to take part in Dutch central tests and examinations each year.