The Board of 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 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, and secondary-level state exams held outside of schools. Furthermore, the CvTE is also responsible for exams in secondary vocational education.
The CvTE recognizes the need for reliable final assessments of students' achievement in a range of educational programmes, with respect 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 exams it administers.
Working together with a number of partners, the CvTE directs and oversees a chain of tasks carried out by cooperating 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 creates syllabuses of exam programmes;
- CITO, the institute for test development that drafts exams;
- DUO, the organization that prints and distributes exams for secondary education and organises state exams for Dutch as a second language and secondary school subjects;
- the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, which establishes exam procedures and ensures that exams are properly organized and carried out.
Facets of the CvTE's tasks include establishing an inventory of exam subjects, specifying the exam programmes and setting these out in syllabuses, establishing norms for exam results and, in state-administered exams, organising exams and issuing diplomas. In all of these, the CvTE works closely and effectively with partners 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.
In cooperation with these partners and with others in the field of education, the CvTE enables hundreds of thousands of students to take part in Dutch central examinations each year.